Cardinal Skippers Jumped in New York City

skatersBy Michael Casper

Cecilia Krolczyk teaches at Parkside Grade School and is one of the coaches for the Cardinal Skippers rope jumping team. Two of the 27 team members were lucky enough to be singled out to travel to New York City, and jump with the other 200 skippers from around the nation in the Thanksgiving Day Macy Parade.

“The Cardinal Skippers are a rope jumping team which is part of the Fond du Lac School District,” Cecilia said “we have jumpers from kindergarten all the way through high school. There are tryouts and competitions and performances throughout the school year.”

When they do compete its not between schools but rather other teams from all over the country. This past year, a few of their jumpers went to the world competition, and were able to compete with other jumpers from around the globe at the World Championships held in Orlando, Florida.

Kristin Bahr and Roxanne Rohde whose children also jump are the two additional Cardinal Skipper coaches. It was Gail Cameron who started the program some 19 years ago, and who coached the entire time.

“We have spring tryouts,” Cecilia said “and a lot of the kids attend the jump rope clubs in their respective schools or some come to the spring and fall workshops that we hold. We also get recommendations from the area phy-ed teachers in elementary schools if they happen to see some talent coming up through the ranks.”

The two athletes chosen were Margaret Krolcyzk (daughter to Cecilia), a student at Theisen Middle School, who not only competes but also teaches jump rope at one of the USA Jump Rope camps, and Allison Duley, a junior at Fondy High, is active on the gymnastics team which helps in her advanced skill level in jumping rope.

There are different categories of competition jump rope including speed events, freestyle, Double Dutch, and Double Dutch with speed, and the rope jumpers train according to their specialty.

“When the Cardinal Skippers compete,” Cecilia said “they compete in their age group and most have a routine they perform, or they compete in speed events when they go to competition…so they have a lot to prepare for.”

Last July USA Jump Rope along with the Heartbeats Jump Rope Team from Cleveland, Ohio sent out invitations to all the jump rope teams in the country, and based on the size of your team determined how many spots you’d qualify for in the Macy Parade.

“The kids had to be a certain age and caliber of jumper in order to be considered” Cecilia said “our little kids are just a little too young…your the skill level had to be high. Gail and I selected some of the jumpers to compete amongst themselves, and then whether or not they would be able to commit the time required to learn the routine and practice also determined whether they would be considered for the trip to New York.”

A specific syncopated drill was ascribed to the qualifying jumpers.

“They worked on their routine given to them,” Cecilia said “by ‘The Heartbeats’ for the parade route. Once the two jumpers were selected they’d go to Fondy High and jump rope laps around the running track, building up their endurance so they could make it the entire 3 mile parade route.”

They arrived the Monday before Thanksgiving with mandatory practice beginning the next day.

“Once in New York all the jumpers were given their parade ‘spot’ number,” Cecilia said “Margaret and Allison were jumpers 105 and 106. We started practice at 11 in the morning Tuesday, then ended the day at 8:30 at night with a dress rehearsal in front of Macy’s at Herald Square. We were then up practicing at 9am Wednesday until 4 in the afternoon. Then it was back to the hotel for a team meeting.”

All jumpers did the same routine throughout the Thanksgiving Parade until the group of 200 arrived in front of Macy’s where another choreographed routine was performed.

The next day after the parade there was time to sight see.

“We visited Ground Zero,” Cecilia said “went to the Today Show and actually got on TV (laugh) and we saw Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and rode the subway, so we had as much of the New York City experience as possible.”

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