By JULIE CORY
Sara O’Neal is not unlike many mothers who want their daughters to learn how to roller skate for the occasional school party at a rink.
But when O’Neal took her then 8-year-old daughter Adrienne Erickson to the Lynnwood Roll-A-Way Skate Center, little did she know that would spark a passion in Adrienne.
Adrienne, now 15, has turned that initial excitement into a competitive adventure.
This past August, the Cascade High School sophomore captured first place in the Sophomore Ladies Freestyle competition at the Roller Skating Nationals in Lincoln, Neb.
“I was so excited. It was so great,” Adrienne said of her finish at nationals.
Adrienne, who is a member of the Everett Expressions Artistic Roller Skating Club, earned the berth to nationals after taking first place at the Northwest Regional Championships in Portland, Ore. in June.
The first-place finish guaranteed that Adrienne would be one of the 27 competitors at nationals.
Next up is the Junior World competition in Italy this August, for which Adrienne is attempting to qualify as a member of the United States team.
In the meantime, Adrienne is focused on training.
Just as she has the past two years, Adrienne will be heading to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado in November for a week-long training session.
Although roller skating is not an Olympic event, it is a medal event at the Pan-American Games and the Olympic Training Center offers a program that fits Adrienne’s needs.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Adrienne. “You get to meet a lot of different people.”
Adrienne takes her sport pretty seriously, training six days a week for about three hours a day.
In the offseason, Adrienne, who maintains a 3.9 GPA, also keeps in shape running track for Cascade. This spring she plans on participating in the 100- and 200-meter events and the 400 relay.
But right now, she’s still riding high on her win at Nationals.
And the best part of winning?
“The crowd standing up and cheering for me when I got my first-place medal,” said Adrienne. “It felt like the Olympics – It was my mini-Olympics.”
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