Rock Hill skaters excel

August 13, 2008 

Rock Hill has produced some expert skaters -- whether they prefer the traditional four-wheeled skates or the speedy inline versions.

Melissa Hall, one of the traditionalists, recently took first place in the women's loop event at the U.S. National Championships in roller figure skating in Lincoln, Neb. The championships included competitions in more than 100 individual and team events for men and women.

Hall, a 21-year-old student at York Technical College in early childhood development, has been roller skating since she was 5. She said she now must decide whether to continue her skating career or become a teaching assistant in Rock Hill schools.

Friends, family and trainers say they can't envision her giving up skating.

Other local competitors at the national event weren't skating loops. They were just trying to cover ground as quickly as possible.

Jacob Anderson, 8, Damon Spencer, 10, and Will Irby, 12, set national records in inline speed skating in Lincoln. The three were among a group of 14 at the championships who practice under trainer Donnie Allen of Rock Hill.

Anderson broke the national record for the 1,200-meter primary two mixed -- with teammate Deja Johnson, 7 -- and the 1,200-meter primary two-boy -- with teammate Travis Spencer. Jacob and Damon set another national record on the 1,200-meter juvenile four-boy -- with teammates Aidan Murphy-Booth, 8, and Clay Ellerbrock, 9.

Allen said he would like to see his young wards in the Olympics someday. It looks like they are off to a good start.

We know that all these skaters put hours and hours of work into training for the finals. Now all that work has paid off.

Congratulations to all of them for reaching the status of best in the nation.

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