Two CH speedskaters race in national junior championship
Two members of the Cleveland Heights Speedskating Club were among approximately 50 skaters who raced in the US Short Track Junior Championship last month in Wassau, Wis.
Hira Hanson, 16, a junior at Cleveland Heights High School, and Ryan Shane, 14, a freshman at Shaker Heights High School, are the first members of the Cleveland Heights club to ever qualify and compete in the Junior Championship.
Their coach is Nicole Golembiewski, head coach of the Cleveland Heights club.
The high-stakes event was for boys and girls ages 14–19, with top competitors earning spots on the U.S. Junior World Cup team and the Olympics training program. Neither of the Heights skaters placed high enough to do so.
To earn an invitation, skaters had to achieve qualifying times at a US Speedskating-sanctioned meet over the past 18 months. Qualifying times for the Junior Championship are more rigorous than for other invitational meets.
Hanson is in his eighth season with Cleveland Heights Speedskating. Both he and Shane were introduced to the sport through the club’s Introduction to Speedskating session, held each October and January at the Cleveland Heights Community Center. It’s open to anyone 5–75 years old who has the fundamental abilities to ice skate and follow coaches’ directions.
Cleveland Heights Speedskating Club is run by volunteers with support from Cleveland Heights Parks and Recreation Department—making it one of only a handful of clubs across the country offering such open and affordable access to the sport.
The Lakewood Speedskating Club also had two representatives at the Junior Championship: Gannon Graf, 14, North Olmsted High School; and, in her third trip to the championship, Una Willhoite, 16, Bay Village High School.
Barb Rosenbaum, a longtime Cleveland Heights resident, is president of the Cleveland Heights Speedskating Club.