Competitive figure skaters share their experiences

By Devynn Harris

Warming up with his sister, freshman Hawkeye Mitchell prepares for practice.

Connor Oswald, JagWire reporter

On most weekday mornings, sophomore Grace Sulzman and freshman Hawkeye Mitchell arrive by 5 a.m. at the Kansas City Ice Center in Shawnee, where they slip on their skates and begin practicing the techniques they will need for their next competition.

Mitchell, who has been ice skating for two years, practices Tuesday through Thursday mornings at KCIC and on Monday and Sunday afternoons. Sulzman, who has been ice skating for 10 years, also skates at KCIC, but instead she practices in the mornings Tuesdays through Saturdays and after school on Mondays.

The skaters participate in both local and out-of-state competitions. In the competitions the skaters perform a program that they have worked on for at least a few months. Sulzman skates both freestyle and dance for the competitions, while Mitchell performs pairs with his sister Jessica, an 8th grader at Monticello Trails Middle School.

Mitchell’s last competition was Monday, Nov. 12, where he competed in the 8th Midwestern Sectional Competition in Cleveland, Ohio. He performed, in pairs, to the song “Sing Sing Sing” by Benny Goldman, a program that he had rehearsed for five months. Mitchell placed 15 out of 21 teams.

Mitchell said his performance went well.

“[It went] great, [I] landed everything and was with the music the whole way through,” Mitchell said, “[I] got good feed back but [I] won’t be going to nationals this year.”

Sulzman has competed in competitons in Dallas and Denver and said that one of her favorite parts of skating is the places where she has competed.

“I’d have to say [my favorite thing is] getting to travel to lots of places to compete. I wouldn’t have been half the places I’ve been without skating,” Sulzman said.

Sulzman and Mitchell began skating for two entirely different reasons. Sulzman got inspired to skate while watching the Winter Olympics. Mitchell started ice skating after taking a bet from his father.

“[My father] said he would pay me money [if I ice skated],” Mitchell said. “He has only paid me one time, but he did.”

Despite the differences in their initial motivation to start skating, both share a love for the sport.

“My passion [has kept me skating],” Mitchell said. “Once I started skating I just wanted to keep pushing [myself to] get better at every step.”

Sulzman plans to continue skating in the future by either becoming a coach or by joining a collegiate team. Mitchell also plans to continue skating.

“I’m going to be skating for the rest of my life,” Mitchell said. “Once you start skating, you never go back.”

(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)