Northwest NEWS

December 13, 1999

Front Page

Local skaters showcase their talent

local skaters

Northshore skaters appearing in "Hi-Jinx" at the Kingsgate Ice Arena are (front, left to right) Trina Pierre, Sarah Wenker, and Morgan Brown; (back) and Stacy Schumacher and Amanda Knoll.
Photo by Craig G. Ingle.

by Deborah Stone

   Ice skaters from the Eastside have had several opportunities this season to showcase their talents to the public. Recently, the Wells Fargo Ice Arena in Downtown Bellevue Park hosted "Magic Season On Ice." Scenes from "The Nutcracker" were performed by USFSA figure skaters, five of whom represent the local Woodinville-Bothell area.

   On Dec. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m., these talented skaters and others from the Eastside will perform holiday solos at Kingsgate Ice Arena's "Hi-Jinx" show. The event is free. For more information, call Lisa Viereck at 481-5878.

   Trina Pierre, a Woodinville High School graduate, is a professional soloist and pairs skater who has been skating for eleven years. She has performed in numerous shows and has toured with Disney On Ice, "The Little Mermaid," as well as participated in the Sun Valley Ice Show, Seattle Ice Theatre, Stars on Skates Ice Show, and Highland Winter Wonderland.

   Pierre enjoys show skating the most, as she feels it allows her the opportunity to express herself to others. She says, "Skating for others gives me a wonderful feeling. I love it! It's like no other feeling."

   Pierre was attracted to skating early on because of its fluid movements and combination of athletics and drama. For her, it's the perfect art form that signifies grace and beauty. As a child and teen, Pierre spent many hours training and competing to achieve her goal. Many sacrifices were made along the way, but she feels these were necessary for her in pursuing her passion.

   "Skating is such a competitive sport, and you really have to work at continually trying to perfect your movements, because you're always being judged," comments Pierre. "I gave up doing team sports at school because of the time I needed to focus on skating. It's also hard at times with friendships. I'm very outgoing and happy for others when they succeed, as opposed to being upset or angry at my competitors. You can get in a negative mood about things if you don't have the right attitude."

   Currently, Pierre attends Seattle Central Community College and is studying apparel design. She still skates and also teaches children to skate at the Highland Ice Arena, but feels she needs to move on with her life.

   "I don't plan to make a career out of ice skating," explains Pierre. "I love it, but I want to pursue other things in my life." Her advice to young skaters is simple: "Dream as high as you can and go for it."

   Sarah Wenker is a seventeen-year-old senior at Inglemoor High School who has found challenge, excitement, and joy on the ice since she was seven years old. Sarah has practiced ten to fifteen hours a week over the years to attain the United States Figure Skating Association's highest achievement award by passing the Senior Gold Medal test. She has been an active competitor for many years and has received medals and artistic awards for her grace and elegance on ice.

   "I love to perform and share my passion with others," says Sarah. "I also enjoy teaching the sport to children; it's so rewarding to see them learn to skate and watch them improve their skills."

   Although the world of skating is intensely competitive, Sarah's perceptions have kept her balanced. She says, "I have always skated for myself and looked at the sport as a wonderful recreation activity, not as a professional career."

   Although she admits to the sacrifices she made while training, she feels she did not miss out on too much. She has been involved in leadership activities at Inglemoor and has been a member of the Varsity Cheer Squad, as well as a member of the National Honor Society. Last year, in recognition of her scholastic achievement and her community service, the Masonic Education Council selected her as an "Outstanding Junior Student" finalist.

   Sarah plans to attend college next year at either Western Washington University or Santa Clara University in California. "I will always skate," she explains, "and it will always be a part of my life, but I have other interests I wish to pursue, too."

   Fifteen-year-old Stacey Shumacher of Mill Creek started skating when she was seven. She was attracted to the sport because of its athleticism. "I love to jump and spin, even though it's difficult," comments Shumacher. "I also enjoy performing for people, because it's fun to get them excited about skating."

   Stacey trains at Kingsgate Ice Arena with coach Kim Ryan, whom she says has been an inspiration to her in terms of giving her support and encouragement. The Olympics are not in Stacey's goals, as she wants to be able to do other activities in her life. She is an avid soccer player, a member of Juanita High School's band, and maintains a 4.0 GPA.

   Fourteen-year-old Amanda Knoll of Woodinville started skating when she was nine. Her dream is to go professional, but she is realistic about her chances. "It would be great," says Knoll, "but it's very hard and very competitive." In the meantime, she is aiming her sights on competing in the Northwest Regional Competition in 2000 with a goal of qualifying for Coast Competitions.

   Knoll has also been skating with the Seattle Skating Club's Synchronized Team for four years at the National level. She trains daily at Kingsgate Ice Arena with coach Kim Ryan, whom she attributes to helping make her a stronger and more confident skater. Although her training schedule is hectic and rigorous, Amanda still finds time to take dance, participate in track at her school, and volunteer in the community.

   Morgan Brown of Kenmore began skating at the young age of three at Sno-King Ice Arena. Her competitive skating career began at the age of five when she won every competitive event she entered for two years solid.

   "Winning is my favorite part of competing," says Morgan. "I like doing the jumps and spins because they're challenging for me. Trying to land hard jumps smoothly is difficult, but when I do, I feel so happy. My goal is to land a triple jump."

   Morgan continues to compete in USFSA competitions and is currently preparing for a very challenging year in the USFSA Juvenile Ladies division, where she will have the opportunity to qualify for USFSA Nationals. She trains at Kingsgate Ice Arena, also under the direction of elite coach Kim Ryan, as well as practices at Olympic View Ice Arena, where she has been a member of the Seattle Skating Club for five years.

   Morgan will spend time in California this year to prepare for the 2000 USFSA Pacific Northwest Regional Competition. "I would love to compete in the Olympics someday, but I know I need to work hard and improve my skills," says Morgan.

   Although she is very devoted to skating, Morgan also has other interests in her life, which include chess, soccer (she plays select soccer), ballet, and art. Her favorite pastime is spending quality time with her cats, while engaged in innovative art projects.