Tuesday Oct 21 2008
By: Kurt Johnson, Press-Tribune sports editor
Roseville skater spins to sectionals
When four-year old Cheyenne Amaro visited the ice rink at Roseville’s Skatetown 10 years ago, there was still no roof on the building. Now a 14-year old freshman at Oakmont High School, Amaro remembers visiting the ice rink, which was still under construction, with her grandmother. “I stared at the skaters on the ice for a long time,” Amaro said. “Then an instructor invited me to take a lesson.” That initial training session began a journey that leads next to a sectional figure skating qualifying competition next month in Scottsdale Arizona, and hopes of a berth in nationals. Amaro finished fourth at the Central Pacific Championships in San Jose last month, taking third in the long program to jump into the final sectional qualifying position. Figure skating takes a combination of athletic skill, grace, creativity and the ability to entertain that Amaro has worked diligently to perfect. Two-hour daily training sessions that begin at 5 a.m. are key to her success on the ice. “You have to love what you are doing,” Amaro said. “It is not that much of a sacrifice. I just love to compete.” As if the hours spent on the ice are not enough, Amaro is also an accomplished runner on the track. During her off-season from skating competitions, she enjoys running middle distance events on the school track team. Last season, while running for W.T. Eich Intermediate School, Amaro was the eighth-grade champion in the 800 meters and the hurdles. She looks forward to continuing her running as part of Oakmont’s track team this spring. Raising money to support herself as she travels to events throughout California and beyond also takes up a big part of Amaro’s time and energy. In order to compete, she has sold candy bars and participated in a skate-a-thon in addition to other fund raising activities. The Oakmont freshman really is very much into her family when she is away from the ice, preferring to hang out with her 10-year-old sister, her parents and her grandmother in addition to spending time with friends. Next month, Amaro will join 11 other skaters in Scottsdale, in a battle for four qualifying spots at nationals. Similar to the type of scoring witnessed most recently in the Olympic gymnastics competition, the skaters will look to impress two panels of judges who will determine which skaters move on. “Winning comes down to a combination of skating skills and choreography,” Amaro’s coach Michelle Ray Davis said. “Cheyenne has worked hard for this. She had stayed pretty much at one level for three years, but she kept working at it and has seen tremendous growth.” While her skill level has jumped exponentially in the past ten years, the skill that first interested Amaro in figure skating is the one she still likes the best. “I really love the spinning,” Amaro said. “She loves the spinning,” Davis adds, “but her athletic ability is her greatest strength. She is very strong on the jumps.” Whatever skating skills make the difference in Scottsdale, Amaro will be happy just to be on the ice for something other than practice. She lives for the competitions, which force her to push herself to be the best.