Local speedskaters compete in national and state championships

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Nick Elia, a 10-year-old athlete from University Heights, became the first home-grown skater to represent the Cleveland Heights Speedskating Club (short-track) in a national championship.  

The event was the 2009 Dow U.S. National Age Class Short Track Speedskating Championships held on March 14-15 in Midland, Mich.

Elia competed in four distances in the quarter finals, and advanced to the semi-finals in two of those. He ranked 17th in the 500-meter mid-distance; 11th in the 777-meter; eighth in the 333-meter and sixth in the 222-meter sprint. Elia said his goal next year is to reach the finals.

Two weeks earlier, the Cleveland Heights Speedskating Club had several members with top finishes at the Ohio State Short Track Championships, held in Columbus.

Tess Connors took 1st in the Pee Wee division; Elia was first in the Pony A division; Billy Vidmar placed first in Pony B; and, Marc Kun was first in the Senior B division. Other members who skated at the event were Audrey Stainbrook and Jacob Stainbrook (Pee Wee), Ryan Kun (Midget) and Al Marcosen (Masters).

The speedskating championship was a coming-out of sorts for the young club; this is the first generation of home-grown youth-skaters to make a strong showing at regional and national events.

The skaters practice at the Cleveland Heights Recreation Center - Northeast Ohio’s only Olympic-size short-track venue. They are coached by Nicole Golembiewski, a certified coach and former member of the U.S. Olympic Training Program.

The club is always accepting new members from ages 5 to 50-plus. Visit  www.clevelandheightsspeedskating.org for more information.

Bob Rosenbaum lives in Cleveland Heights; his wife Barb skates with the club.

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Volume 2, Issue 4, Posted 11:03 PM, 04.08.2009