Skaters advance to new levels

Published 1:52pm Saturday, January 12, 2013

Three members of the Albert Lea Figure Skating Club recently passed on-ice testing to advance to new levels in the sport. The U.S. Figure Skating Association encourages members to test their skills in order to continually challenge their abilities.

Tests are the measurement of progress in the various branches of the sport. Each level has required elements and they become more difficult as skaters move up the levels.

Holly Wichmann, a sophomore at Albert Lea High School, passed Preliminary Free Skate and Preliminary Moves, the second out of eight levels. She has been figure skating for 10 years, all with the Albert Lea club, and helps with the Tiny Tots and Learn to Skate programs. Off the ice, Wichmann enjoys Youth In Government, choir, track, soccer and hockey. She is coached by Karen Rothgery of the Albert Lea club.

Maddie VanBeek of Albert Lea, an eighth-grader at Minnesota Virtual Academy, passed the Pre-Juvenile Free Skate and Juvenile Moves testing in Rochester, the third and fourth levels out of eight. She has been figure skating for three years, all of them with the Albert Lea club. Off the ice, VanBeek enjoys swimming and dancing. Coached by Karen Rothgery of the Albert Lea club and Lori Voepel Brakke of the Rochester Figure Skating Club, she is looking forward to competing at Hiawathaland in Rochester in early 2013.

Stephanie Nettleton of Joice, Iowa, a seventh-grader at Forest City Middle School, passed the Pre-Preliminary Free Skate, the first of eight levels. She has been figure skating for six years and this is her first season with the Albert Lea club. Off the ice, Nettleton enjoys basketball, playing flute and violin, and showing horses. Coached by Suzanne Olson of the Albert Lea club, she is looking forward to competing at the Bend of the River event in Mankato in early 2013.

Wichmann and VanBeek will perform solos, and Nettleton will perform in a duet, in the club’s annual show, “Planes, Trains and Blades” March 23-24, 2013 at the Albert Lea City Arena.