Sports

Jumping rope takes FedWay kids all the way to Disney World

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

Five Federal Way jump ropers are heading to the top meet in the United States. The Federal Way jumpers range in age from fifth grade to a freshman at the University of Washington.

The 2007 National Jump Rope Championships will be held June 21-25 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando and will include Federal Way’s Lily Trang (fifth grade), Jake Anderson (seventh grade), Marissa Hsu (ninth grade), Brian Hsu (11th grade) and Elaine Trang (freshman at UW).

The Federal Way kids are a part of Kirkland’s Hot Dog USA team this year for the first time after the Leaping Leopards team broke up.

The Federal Way-based Leaping Leopards jump rope team was started back in 1997 by Lake Grove Elementary physical education teacher Dana Henry after a lot of pleading from several of her students.

The kids’ interest was peaked the year before when a team of jump ropers performed at a school assembly. The team excelled for many years and sent numerous kids to the nationals. Henry decided not to coach this year to pursue other interests.

Hot Dog USA is a large team based out of the Eastside with more than 50 jumpers. The jumpers are required to take gymnastics once a week as part of their practice routine.

The Federal Way families share the carpooling up to Bellevue, Kirkland or Woodinville for practices.

The Hot Dog team has a long and prestigious reputation. Their jumpers have traveled the world to teach workshops and to compete. Hot Dog USA performs Jump Rope for Heart demos at schools, which are sponsored by the American Heart Association. The team also does paid demos, such as halftime shows at sports events.

The Federal Way jumpers qualified for nationals with solid performances at the regional competition, which was held last month. Lily Trang, Anderson and Brian Hsu all walked away from regionals with individual titles.

Trang won the 11-12 year old female freestyle event, Anderson won the 13-14 male freestyle, the 1-minute speed and 3-minute speed categories, and Hsu won the 15-17 male freestyle, male triple unders and was first in pairs freestyle with Elaine Trang.

There are several events within a jump rope competition including speed, freestyle and triple unders. In the speed events, single competitors try to complete as many jumps in a set amount of time. During last year’s national championships, the winning 14-year-old boy completed 320 revolutions in 60 seconds.

The freestyle portion is similar to a gymnastics floor exercise routine with a jump rope and triple unders has the jumper turning the rope underneath their feet three times for each jump. The triple unders continue until the jumper misses.

Besides next month’s national championships, Hsu and Anderson were also chosen by Hot Dog USA coach Amy Canady to attempt to qualify for the 2008 World Championships. This competition is held every two years and was last contested in Japan. The hosting country will be announced later this month.

The United States qualifying competition will be held next spring.

In order to compete at Worlds, a jumper must be good at all the speed and freestyle events.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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