The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

July 13, 2013

Area skaters sharpen up for national event

JOHNSTOWN — With temperatures soaring, a number of locals have been spending a lot of time on ice.

Figure skaters who practice at Planet Ice in Richland Township are practicing for hours each week in preparation for the State Games of America, coach and program director Jan St. Clair said.

The biannual Olympic-style event, featuring competition between State Games medal winners from across the nation, will be held July 31 through Aug. 4 in the Harrisburg-Hershey area.

“I don’t remember the last time the games were held in Pennsylvania,” St. Clair said. “They have two locations, and they have several rinks.”

This marks the eighth year for the State Games of America, which is being held on the East Coast for only the second time, according to the event’s website, http://stategames2013.com.  Medal winners from 31 states are to compete.

Among the competitors will be many Pennsylvania skaters who train at Planet Ice along Jari Drive, St. Clair said.

“We have 25 kids going this year,” she said, “and we have five coaches going from Planet Ice.”

The skaters had to qualify at the state level.

“It’s typically an elimination process where the people who compete in the Keystone State Games go – the top three,” St. Clair said.

Planet Ice and its participating skating organizations – U.S. Figure Skating Association and Ice Skating Institute – have produced medal winners in multiple age groups, she said.

“That’s all different age groups, all the way down to a 5-year-old, and they have an adult category that is separated from the rest of the group,” she said, adding that a 26-year-old skater will be competing. “They compete against others in their own age group.”

Competitors also are separated by the events in which they are competing. Dance, freestyle and team competitions will be held, as well as production themes – a theatrical event involving costume and music changes – and an artistic competition.

“(In the artistic), they’re not so much involved in judging their jumping. They are evaluated on their footwork,” St. Clair said.

Planet Ice was opened in 1999, and St. Clair said its figure skaters have been participating in the games since 2001.

“We have sent kids to world competitions,” she said. “The skaters have competed across the country.”

St. Clair said the Planet Ice skaters historically do well in the competitions, and she hopes the State Games of America will be no exception.

“I believe everybody that is going has competed before, but they may not have competed in such a large event,” she said. “When they win this, they take the highest honor they can get from this level of competition.”

The local skaters have been putting in a lot of practice.

“The typical training would be five or six days a week, and most of them take lessons four or five days a week,” St. Clair said.

Eleven-year-old skater Lily Carone can attest to that. The Indiana girl said she has been commuting an hour each day, five days a week, to and from the rink to train for the games.

“I’m specifically working on double jumps, posture, artistry and presentation,” Lily said, adding that she hopes her skating will look polished.

After placing first in four events at the Keystone State Games, Lily said she remains hopeful that she will do well in the national competition.

“I hope to skate my best and to experience healthy competition,” she said.

Lily’s mother, Stacy Carone, said her daughter has participated in large competitions before, but this will probably be the biggest.

“It’s just neat that it’s in our geographic area,” Carone said, adding that the coaches at Planet Ice have had a great impact on her daughter’s skating. “We really have great coaches that commit to this.”

While the skaters’ talents and excellent coaching obviously contributed to their wins, St. Clair said it wouldn’t be possible if they were unable to practice at Planet Ice.

“You can have the best skaters and coaches in the world, but you need the facility. We have a very large team considering the area we are pulling from,” she said, explaining that some skaters come from as far as State College to practice.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Cause of West End fire still undetermined

    The cause of a five-alarm fire early Monday morning at a vacant structure on the 500 block of Dorothy Avenue in Johnstown’s West End has not yet been determined.

    July 22, 2014

  • Former worker, pal jailed in Logan Township thrift store robbery

    A former employee and another man have been jailed on charges they robbed a Blair County thrift store, a crime foiled when a current employee told police she recognized the first masked suspect’s voice.

    July 22, 2014

  • Rents change with new rules

    A change in federal housing regulations raises the rent for 28 public housing tenants and reduces the rent for 29 tenants in Johnstown Housing Authority communities.

    July 21, 2014

  • Memorial programs recognized

    A national hospital ranking report recognizes Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center as high performing in four categories.

    July 21, 2014

  • Residents seek Sonman memorial

    Relatives of workers involved in one of the biggest mine disasters in the region’s history are working to keep the victims’ memories from fading. Next year marks the 75th anniversary of the 1940 Sonman Mine explosion, which claimed 63 lives.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tribune Treasure!

    July 22, 2014

  • Foul play ruled out in train fatality

    Foul play has been ruled out in the death of a Windber man found struck by a train near Seward early Sunday, investigators say.

    July 21, 2014

  • Correction 07/22/2014

    July 21, 2014

  • Concussion prevention project progressing

    A Johnstown-area hospital and school district are a step ahead of the president's call for more research into sports injuries, having developed a groundbreaking concussion-prevention program aimed at helping all athletes, particularly students, avoid brain injuries.

    July 21, 2014

  • Local briefs 7/22/2014

    July 21, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
House Ads