A team of local artistic roller skaters will head up to Michigan in a couple of weeks to see if they can qualify for a national tournament in Nebraska.
Some on the Skatetown Artistic Team, which practices at Skatetown USA in West Chester Twp., have won and placed in the USA Roller Sports’ Roller Figure Skating Great Lakes Regional Championships, and hope to do it again.
But many on the team say being participating is more than just winning.
“It really challenges me,” said Monica Kellner, a 15-year-old home-schooled sophomore from Liberty Twp. “It’s really just a lot of fun, and to have friends enjoying what you enjoy as well.”
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Kellner hopes to have a repeat year of 2013, when she won nationals in her age group as an 11 year old. She said she was “just so close” to making the finals in nationals in the past few years.
Artistic skating regional and national competitions were first developed in the 1930s and 1940s. Some 2,000 skaters compete in the national competition.
It’s also a family affair, says Shannon Hartkemeyer, who’s three daughters — Stephanie, 13, Alexandra, 10, and Madelyn, 7 — compete on the team with the Fairfield Twp. trustee.
“That’s the beautiful thing about artistic skating, it is something that something of all ages can do,” said Hartkemeyer. “You can have kids 3 years old all the way up to adults in their 70s, and sometimes 80s, competing.”
Madelyn started when she was in diapers, her mom said.
“It’s really something that’s a good sport because people compete as a family and it’s something you can do with your kids,” said Hartkemeyer, who the regional tournament in her division in 2015 and 2016, placing ninth in last year’s national tournament.
Her girls said they enjoy attending the competitions and being with their friends. Stephanie Hartkemeyer said she also enjoys teaching the skills of the sport.
“I like how we get out and we get to meet people, and we get to teach people,” she said. “It’s really cute when they get a skill. When they get a skill they’re really proud of themselves and I really like watching that in competition.”
And like Kellner, Alexandra Hartkemeyer said it’s more than just competing.
“It’s fun to go to competitions … (but) it’s more than that,” she said. “It’s friends, (seeing new) places …”
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