Sports

Champion inline skater transitions to ice track

By COLE COSGROVE

Associate editor

J.R. Celski, a national champion inline skater at PattisonŽ’s, is following the skate tracks of his idol, former PattisonŽ’s skater and Olympic gold-medalist Apolo Ohno.

J.R. is taking his skill to the ice.

So far, the 12-year-old has skated three meets on the short track ice circuit in British Columbia.

In his first meet, against 30 skaters in his division, J.R. took first place in three out of four races. He has since moved up a division to compete against 13- and 14-year-olds. J.R. has placed in the top six in all his events.

Ž“He is continuing to work hard to catch the leaders and improving his race times,Ž” said his mom, Sue Celski. Ž“Although itŽ’s a whole new technique and different surface, with his determination, heŽ’s transitioning to the ice well and still able to have inline help in the training.Ž”

J.R. plans to compete on ice at the national level for the first time in March in Wisconsin.

But he is no stranger to national competition on a wooden surface.

Members of PattisonŽ’s Team Extreme went to inline nationals this past summer in Lincoln, Neb., and placed fourth in the nation as a team.

J.R. defended his championship and teamed up with Jordy Spriggs in the 2,000-meter elementary two-boy relay. In the process, they broke a 4-year-old record in the semi-final by more than three seconds. Then in the finals, they broke that record by another three seconds.

Ž“It was unprecedented,Ž” Sue Celski Ž“No one could believe it.Ž”

In the 700-meter race, J.R. was tenths of a second off from setting the national record, but still won the race to defend his elementary boys division title.

J.R. and his father, Bob, entered the 2002 U.S. Inline Speedskating Nationals as Defending Champions and Speedskaters of the Year for the Northwest Region at regionals last June. Bob was injured at nationals but still took fourth place overall.

PattisonŽ’s yearly regional meet is coming up in January, featuring some of the best skaters in the area.

The newest Team Extreme member and 11-Time World Champion Julie Glass (originally from Michigan) won the Pro-Elite WomenŽ’s Division at nationals and took gold in both the Senior Four-mixed and Senior Two-mixed relays. She is now in Calgary training to do long track ice. SheŽ’ll return to Washington next March.

Jennifer Dowse was third overall and is now living in Salt Lake City, also training in a regimented long track ice program. She skates daily with Olympic gold medalist Derek Parra and Olympic bronze medalist Jennifer Rodriguez Boutiette.

Other PattisonŽ’s skaters also placed at nationals.

Stephanie Anderson was second overall and her husband Jeremy Anderson was third in the 1,500 meter race.

Stephan Hohagen was third overall, Chris Farris was fourth overall, Jordy Spriggs was fifth overall and Tom Petramalo was fifth overall.

Miguel Jose placed fourth in the 1,500 at nationals. He is sponsored by K2 Racing and had an opportunity to skate in a distance race in Germany where he finished 93rd of about 8000 skaters. He is continuing to train, averaging 25 miles a day.

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