By Meagan Renick
Rollin’ 253 Community Center in Fircrest has a brand new inline speed skating team “Rollin’ 253 Speed Team”, and they are making a name for themselves rather quickly. This team currently has over 40 kids under the age of 16 from all over Pierce and Thurston Counties. When we started the speed team officially in July of 2014; the kids could barely skate let alone compete. Coach Meagan Renick moved from coaching for Olympia (when they disbanded in July) to starting a new team in Fircrest (Tacoma).
This team started from scratch by recruiting kids from session that might be interested in learning how to go faster. The kids all worked hard through the summer months (when most other local speed skating teams are taking time off for their off season), so that they could hit the ground running for the first competition in October that was held in Auburn. At that competition we had 16 skaters enter. Several of those skaters had between one and four months of speed skating training at that time. At the first meet in October, our skaters came home with a total of 15 medals including individual races and relays.
Since that time the team has grown to over 40 members. All new speed skaters, just learning how to skate let alone speed skate. But with lots of hard work and perseverance, the team has achieved many medals over the course of this season.
During the weekend of May 30-31, Twenty members of the team competed in the Northwest’s most prestigious inline speed skating event: Northwest Inline Speed Skating Regionals. This was a qualifying event for the skaters to earn their way to compete in the National event that will be held during the second week of July in Albuquerque, NM. Teams from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho all competed for the top 4 placements in each age division as well as relay events to qualify for a chance to compete in the National competition. It is mostly unheard-of for a team with less than a year of speed skating experience (and for some only a matter of months) to compete in this level of competition and do well.
At Northwest Inline Speed Skating Regionals last weekend the Rollin’ 253 Speed Skating Team took the following placements:
- Z’Ryagrace Claggion (4) placed 3rd overall in the Tiny Tot Girls Division
- Elaina Duong (7) placed 3rd overall in the Primary Girls Division
- Jake Musselman (11) placed 4th overall in the Novice Elementary Boys Division
- Savannah Turner (8) and Elaina Duong (7) placed 1st overall in the Primary 2-Girl Relay
- Nao Wainer (8) and Hollie Tran (7) placed 2nd overall in the Primary 2-Girl Relay
- Savannah Turner (8) and Royce Nelsen (7) placed 2nd overall in the Primary 2-Mix Relay
- Savannah Turner (8), Elaina Duong (7), Hollie Tran (7), and Nao Wainer (8) placed 4th overall in the Juvenile 4-Girl Relay
- Allen Duong (8), Josh Moore (9), Royce Nelsen (7), and Louie LaBrasch (8) placed 2nd overall in the Juvenile 4-Boy Relay
- Alexis McElroy (12), Sophia Young (13), Rebecka McDougall (11), and Sienna Smith (12) placed 3rd overall in the Freshman 4-Girl Relay
To have so many placements come out of such a new team in the Northwest Region (known as one of the toughest regions in the nation), is a huge success for all of the kids! There is a reason that Coach Meagan refers to them as “her little purple army”.
These kids are making their way on to the scene in a hurry, and making a name for themselves.
We are now getting ready to send several of these kids to Nationals for their very first time ever. I would like for the newspaper to come out and interview some of my Primary and Juvenile (6-10 year old) skaters about their successful season, and what they are doing now to train to go to Nationals in July.
If you are interested in this fun sport, please feel free to inquire to Rollin’ 253 Community Center about their beginning speed skating classes.