Perhaps the sweetest — and coolest — Valentine’s Day treat this year was served on ice.
An estimated 30,000 people treated themselves last week at the Medina Ice Festival, where students and alumni from The University of Akron competed against ice carvers from around the world.
Senior George Niemoeller won a silver medal at the 2013 Medina Ice Festival with his “mechanical flight” sculpture, based on the mythological character Icarus, shown here at UA’s Ice Fest 2013.
Senior George Niemoeller received a National Ice Carving Association silver medal in the freestyle event with his "mechanical flight" sculpture. Niemoeller, who competed against more than 20 carvers in the contest, was named best collegiate carver.
Ice carving coach-chef Richard Alford, associate professor emeritus of hospitality management at UA, won first place in the speed-carving contest.
In the first round, Alford defeated UA alumnus and 2006 Winter Olympics gold medal-winner Aaron Costic. Each was allowed two tools and 20 minutes to sculpt, and Alford's unicorn topped Costic's angel.
In the final round, Alford sculpted a dove and defeated Jeff Meyers, who has won competitions for the NICA and World Ice Art Championships.
Several UA students and alumni won medals in both individual and team competitions.
Alumnus Andy Zamagias won a silver medal, and UA students and alumni Angela Mathie, Cinneaia Johnson and Erik Freay won bronze medals in individual competitions. Bronze medal team winners were Alford, Freay, Johnson and Mathie, along with Jennifer Bogart, Tori Cunningham and Caleb Landis.
The UA carvers did very well, Alford says, especially considering the open competition attracted some of the best high school, collegiate and professional carvers in the world.
Senior George Niemoeller received a National Ice Carving Association silver medal in the freestyle event with his "mechanical flight" sculpture.
Story by Nicholas Nussen
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