Monday, February 21, 2011

Blue Ridge Challenge

    Like I said in my previous post, I’m going to talk about the actual meet in this post.  And here it goes.  Mary Allmond always puts on a great meet and tries to do as much for the skaters as possible.  This meet was no different.  There were cash prizes, open races, pick a partner relays, and LOTS of racing.  The only problem with trying to do so much for the skaters is that sometimes she goes a little bit over board.  And that is what happens every now and then when you love something so much.  The general consensus that I got from a few officials and some other skaters is that there might have been too much racing for one invitational.  For instance, my dad runs the photo finish camera at the meets in our area, indoor nationals, and outdoor nationals.  He had to be up at 4 something Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, to make sure that the camera and the lights and everything else he needed to work properly did.  Then not only did he do the photo finish for the regular meet, but he did it for NSC as well.  For just the regular portion of the meet he was there for 36 hours over three days.  That just seems a little overboard.  I’ve never ran a meet before, but it seems like there would be some way that we could avoid putting the officials, coaches, skaters, and parents through these hellish hours.  Quality over quantity, right?
    But enough of me being a negative Nancy, throughout the meet there was a lot of good racing, and there were a few skaters that really stood out in my mind.  First I’d like to give huge props to Corey Bethel.  This kid skated more at this meet than he has in months!  Not only did Corey race NSC, but he also skated senior men at the meet, the open at the meet, and then I believe 3 out of the 4 relays that were offered on Sunday.  And he skated very well and very fast in everything.  If this guy could make it to practice more often, then he would not only be competing with top guys (he’s already doing that), he could be beating a lot of them. 
    Next, I’d like to talk about Zach Fereira (sp?).  I’ve been a fan of this kid for the past couple years.  And the main reason is because he gets better and better every time I see him skate.  I talked to one of his coaches, Shannon Shuskey, about him this weekend at the meet and he said that some time last year, something just clicked for Zach.  He said he finally realized that he had loads of potential and that if he worked hard he could be great some day.  Shannon said Zach is always texting and calling him asking him for more workouts and things he can do that will make him better.  I really admire younger kids that do things like this.  Because everything Zach is doing right now, is what you have to do to be great.  Keep it up Zach; I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed the hard work. 
    Another skater who I think had a really good meet and has a lot of good things coming his way is Kevin Carroll.  First off, Kevin Carroll shocked everybody the first night of NSC when he got 2nd in the flying 100-meter time trial with a time of 8.73.  Kevin has hit a major growth spurt over the past year or so, and I think he is finally learning how to skate in that big body of his.  Most of us know that his brother is a really good skater, and I think that Kevin will be following right along in his footsteps.  Look for Kevin to vie for a spot on the Junior World Team this year at Outdoor Nationals. 
    Finally, I’d like to talk about Kirstyn Scales.  For those of you that do not know Kirstyn Scales, she is an Elementary girl, and she is fast!  I think she could be something like the next Jessica Smith a few years down the road.  Kirstyn is pretty short for her age and skinny as a rail, but the girl can flat out fly, and she has really solid endurance for a girl her age as well.  This main reason I’m highlighting Kirstyn in this post is because she lost a race.  You can probably count on one hand how many times Kirstyn has not won a race racing girls her own age.  There have been many kids through the years that show phenomenal talent, never losing races, but what separates Kirstyn from the others is the way she reacted to losing.  Sure, Kirstyn was mad, but nobody likes to lose, especially when it never happens to you.  You see a lot of these kids, who never lose, throw temper tantrums, and start crying before the race is over when they lose, make excuses about the race, or blame others for their mistakes.  Kirstyn did no such thing.  The races following that, Kirstyn looked like a completely different skater.  She went on to skate very well for the rest of the meet, clearly separating herself as the fastest young girl there.  Watch out for Kirstyn a few years down the road, we may have a World Champion in the making!
    Overall the meet was a great success, and it is really good for the sport to see crowds like that at meets these days.  Hopefully we can see similar numbers at meets around the country in the future. 

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