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Westside figure skaters grow in regionals

Camaraderie and talent, mixed in with a little fun, are good reasons to lace up the skates.

Even when the pursuit of excellence often creates high levels of stress for local teenagers.

Four Farragut area members of Knoxville Figure Skating Club based at Cool Sports, Home of the Icearium, were among 12 members to compete in the seven-state Eastern Great Lakes Region championships — Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana — held in Nashville in early October.

Marsean Oyler, 17, a junior at Bearden High School, finished fourth at regionals and qualified among 42 Men’s Intermediate skaters nationwide for Junior Nationals in Salt Lake City, Utah, this month. But Marsean was unable to compete due to injury.

“I'm pretty disappointed, I was looking forward to it,” he said. “I worked hard for a long time.”

However, “I wake up every day and I'm still excited about the fact that I was able to qualify to go," Marsean added.

About perfecting his skills, “I landed two triple [jumps] the same day,” Marsean said.

Kaitlyn Doan, 13, an eighth-grader at Farragut Middle School, qualified for Junior Nationals in 2009 in Women's Intermediate before qualifying as a Junior Nationals alternate in 2010.

“That was a pretty large accomplishment for me,” Kaitlyn said. “I would have liked to have qualified again this year, but I'm working harder.

“Next year I would like to qualify for Junior Nationals again,” added Kaitlyn, who at regionals earned awards for Footwork Step Sequence, Spins and Overall Points. “I would like to land some triple [jumps]. I'm close.

“This year I accomplished landing my double axle. That was a really large accomplishment.”

Kaitlyn competed among one of the toughest fields at Skate Liberty, Philadelphia, Pa., last July, finishing ninth.

Lara Cherry of Farragut, a 15-year-old Webb School of Knoxville freshman, had a personal best, 46 points, in Women's Intermediate Long Program at regionals.

“I was proud of that,” said Lara, who finished sixth among 15 skaters in a “hard group” of Women's Intermediates.

Lara also earned an award for Highest Level Footwork for her dance step sequence

“I wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't fun,” Lara said, although she added, “I guess sometimes when the pressure's on and we're training for competition, it gets very hard and you have to make sacrifices. But I enjoy the overall experiences.”

Samantha Rey of Farragut, a 14-year-old freshman at Webb School, was quick to point out how KFSC's talent pool has risen sharply since 2005 when she joined. “We didn't have too many high-level skaters,” she said. “We've really improved. ... We used to be nobodies, now we're somebodies.”

Samantha, who recently moved up to Women's Intermediate level, said about the camaraderie, “I like coming here, the smiles, we laugh and have fun — that's the whole point The best part is just coming here and seeing everybody. If I've had a bad day, I can come here and everybody will be like, ‘Oh, you’re so great,’ and it’ll make me feel so much better.”

Samantha said her goal “is to be a choreographer,” but wants to “try everything” related to figure skating.

Emma Black, 14, a home-schooled girl whose mother drives her to Farragut from their home in Sevierville several times per week, said the Icearium “is actually my first home; I'm here more than I am at my actual home.”

Nikki Copeland, Figure Skating Director at Cool Sports, said her KFSC teenagers are “a fabulous set of role models for our younger kids. ... Our little kids look up to them and want to be just like them some day.” KFSC recently finished its 2010 competitive season and will crank up for 2011 “about February or March for the competitive season” beginning in April, Copeland said.


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