Leaping Leopards jump home from nationals with medals


The Mirror

Federal Way’s Leaping Leopards award-winning jump rope team picked up some more hardware recently at the 2005 National Jump Rope Championships at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

The Leopards had six top-10 finishes at the national championships, which concluded June 27. The highest placers were Brian Hsu (eighth in the 15- to 17-year-old three-minute speed category — 774 revolutions), Lily Trang (eighth in the 11-and-under single-rope freestyle) and Trang, Jake Anderson and Ryan Fitzgerald (eighth in the 11-and-under double Dutch). Fitzgerald won a national championship last year in the single-rope freestyle event.

It was the fourth year in a row that head coach Dana Henry, a physical education teacher at Lake Grove Elementary, has taken the Leaping Leopards to the national championships in Orlando.

Other top-10 finishers included Hsu (ninth in the 60-second speed category — 294 revolutions), Fitzgerald (ninth in the 11-and-under single-rope freestyle) and Anderson (10th in the 11-and-under three-minute speed — 684 revolutions). Other Leaping Leopards to make the trip to Orlando were Elaine Trang, Kirstin Larson and Marissa Hsu. All the jumpers qualified in April at Washington Regional Championships in Kirkland. Christina Bell-Robinson also qualified for nationals, but did not make the trip to Florida.

The Leaping Leopards started back in 1997 by Henry after a lot of pleading from several of her students when a team of jump ropers performed at a school assembly. Since its inception, the entire Leaping Leopards jump rope club includes about 40 kids from throughout the Federal Way school district.

The national championships will be broadcast across the nation by ESPN.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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