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Olympic-Sized Dreams

By jw, 02/28/18, 11:15PM EST


Youth athletes reflect on the Winter Olympics

Taylor Aims for Olympic Gold

Taylor is a member of the Hagerstown Bulldogs Mite A travel team.  She is the only female on the roster.  Taylor's favorite part is participating with her teammates, who are some of her best friends. She's an active participant in power skating, whcih has made skating the strongest part of her game.  She is especially proud of two accomplishments from this season- her team went undefeated at the Mite Beach Bash Tournament, and she was chosen as the Mite of the Nite at the Washington Capitals game.  Taylor scored the game's only goal and was interviewed live at the Caps game (picture to the right).  

Taylor has met and skated with Haley Skarupa from the USA Women's Olympic hockey team and has followed her very closely throughout this year's games. "My goal is to play in the Olympics, and sign an autograph for Haley one day," Taylor said.  To do so, she hopes to follow in her heroine's footsteps- Skarupa previously played for the Washington Pride, a tier one girls program, before attending Boston College.  Taylor hopes to join this team in a few years.

Taylor's participation in hockey has given her tremendous conditioning and strength which she has carried over to playing travel soccer as well.  Taylor has gained a great deal of friendships and has learned teamwork, dedication, discipline, and hard work are the cores to advance in hockey and in life.  Furthermore, Taylor is an active participant in helping new and beginner kids develop their hockey skills. She has become one of our most sought-after coaches in the beginner program among young female participants!

Congrats on your well-rounded skill set, Taylor, both on and off the ice!

Skill and Precision

Zoe is a member of the Hagerstown Edge Skating Academy (HESA).  She participates in this club and attends private ice lessons with a local figure skating coach.  This allows her to spend much time perfecting her craft before performances and competitions held each year.  These events might be intimidating for some young performers, but Zoe enjoys the atmosphere.  "I like participating in competitions and performing the programs I have practiced," she said.

Zoe was treated to some amazing figure skating performances at this year's Winter Olympics.  She was intrigued by how both the individual performers and pairs choreographed their programs.  She was impressed by the skill and precision of the routines. 

While the competition drives Zoe, she also enjoys the friendships that have blossomed during her tenure at this rink and others.  "I have met many other skaters," she shared.  "We get to visit with each other between the programs and I've made many friends." 

We look forward to watching Zoe perfect her craft for many years at the rink!


It's All About Teamwork (and friends)

Amelia is a member of the Hagerstown Bulldogs hockey program.  She plays on the 12U/Peewee team.  She was thrilled to watch the USA Women's team win Gold at the Olympics, as a life-long fan of the sport.  "I loved skating since I was a baby," she shared.  "I love how fast and intense hockey is.  It is very satisfying when you make a play to help your team win, and you know your efforts helped the team earn a victory."

Amelia recognizes that the Olympians are playing at an incredibly fast pace, but she can still break down a goal and understand how everyone helped participate in the process.  For example, a defender is in perfect position to block a shot.  Or, a forward screens the goaltender to help a defender get a better chance at scoring on a point shot.  A center is playing down low and starts a break-out through an open winger.  "It's fun to see people doing what I do, but at a really high level."

The excitement from winning as a team isn't the only thing that keeps Amelia coming back each season.  She appreciates the friends she's made, and how hockey conditioning prepares her for other activities.  "I play hockey almost year-round, and when I start the season for another sport, I am in better shape than some because of hockey," she stated.  "I have also made some close friends.  We spend so much time together in the locker room, practicing and traveling- and we become really close." 

Amelia values dedication, teamwork and friendship, which will make her a true asset on any team!

Carly Combines Athleticism & Artistry

Carly is a figure skater with the Hagerstown Edge Skate Academy.  She has participated in this program over the past decade.  "I love figure skating because it's one of the few sports that combines athleticism with artistry," she stated.  "The rink has been my second home for ten years- it's where I've achieved great success and learned valuable life lessons."

Carly follows the Olympic skaters as they compete in other programs and international events.  She is inspired by their dedication and individual stories.  "It's so much fun to follow the skaters' journeys throughout the season, and then to watch it all pay off at the Olympics."

While certain routines and programs are rigorous, skating can be cathartic for Carly.  "When I’m on the ice I forget about all my other stresses. I fully devote my time to focusing during practice," she said.  "I absolutely love being on the ice and perfecting new jumps, spins, and programs." 

Carly believes that skating has helped her grow in other aspects of her life.  That said, she's not planning on hanging up the skates any time soon.  "Ever since I was 7, I’ve understood that hard work leads to positive results. Not only is this a part of skating, but it is a mindset I’ve adopted and live by in all aspects of my life," she shared.  "Figure skating is a part of me and I hope to skate as long as I can. This fall I plan on joining the University of Maryland figure skating team to further pursue my passion."

Best of luck, Carly!  Your drive and dedication will surely help you be successful in college and beyond.