Team Xtreme — the Federal Way speed skating group based at the El Centro Skate Rink — blazed into a second-place finish in July at the USA Inline Speed Skating Nationals in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The tournament, which took place over July 10 through 14, saw 34 teams compete in races and relays. It is the apex of competition for indoor inline speed skating in the U.S.
Team Xtreme finished with 620 points, just five behind first-place finisher, Colorado-based Synergy Speed Skating.
The team fields skaters from five to 68 years old.
On the younger side, 5-year-old Hendrix Jose, the team’s youngest skater, earned a National Bronze Medal for his performance in the “tiny tots” age group. Having only begun skating a year and a half ago, he’s grown by leaps and bounds, Team Xtreme spokesperson Lisa Pierce said.
“When he started off, he couldn’t corner or cross over, and he fell a lot,” she said. “Now he just motors through.”
Meanwhile, skater John Mueller broke records in the Grand Masters Men division with a 500-meter time of 45.962 (about 24 mph). The team also saw national championship victories from Walter Langley Jr. in the Grand Veteran Men (50-55) group and Catherine Ream in the 65+ group.
“Every year she (Ream) competes, she gets faster,” Pierce said, adding that Ream set a record at the competition.
Team Xtreme has consistently been among the top three teams in the country since 2007, according to Pierce. They train four days a week at the El Centro Skate Rink, which was formerly known as Pattison’s West before the rink changed hands and names last November.
When El Centro agreed to take over, Team Xtreme didn’t know what to expect from the rink’s new owners. But the nonprofit threw in their support, keeping the team’s training schedule intact and adding an additional Sunday speed skating class. The hand-off to El Centro has been a perfect outcome, Pierce said.
“El Centro’s been so wonderful in this,” she said.
What makes Team Xtreme so good? Much of the thanks goes to its legacy of excellent coaching, Pierce said.
That includes former coach Mike Pattison, who trained legendary skaters Apolo Ohno and J.R. Celski. The coaching team now includes Robin Pendergast, Todd Lyons and Miguel Jose, the latter of whom trained under Mike Pattison directly.
Those interested in joining Team Xtreme can attend one of the team’s Sunday morning introduction speed skating sessions, Pierce said, which resume August 12. It’s a chance to develop skating skills and observe the team in action.
Other team placements included:
• Shya Saylor, third overall, Senior Ladies (18- plus age division)
• Holly Jose, second overall, Grand Classic Ladies (30-35)
• Andrea Lyons, third overall, Grand Veteran Ladies (50-55)
• Matthew Flora, second overall, Esquire Men (55-60)
• Cynthia Saylor, second overall, Grand Esquire Ladies (60-65)
• Ami Raynor, third overall, Grand Esquire Ladies
• Gabe Lyons, who competed in the National SpeedSkating Circuit’s Pro event, secured a win in the 1000m and second in the flying 100-meter time trial.