Indian Trail girl juggles skating career and school
It’s pitch black outside when 10-year-old Caitlyn Kent wakes up. Her stepdad Jeff helps pack her things, then they head over to the Extreme Ice Center, where she’ll train until it’s time to leave for school.
“I’ve been skating since I was three,” Kent said. “One day I just went out on the ice and had so much fun. My grandpa got me a pair of skates for Christmas that year and I’ve been skating ever since.”
The last seven years included a combination of school and training for Caitlyn, who rose this year to be ranked in the top 20 figure skaters on the juvenile level in the South Atlantic region. That covers an eight state area, starting in Delaware and stretching all the way to Florida.
“It’s just fun,” Kent said. “Being able to compete, seeing my friends, I love it.”
At first, climbing out of bed at 4:30 a.m was difficult for Kent, but as time went on, the 10-year-old said it just became part of her routine.
“Once you start, you get used to it,” Kent said. On Mondays and Wednesdays, she practices afternoons after school. Tuesday and Thursday, she’s on the ice for several hours, practicing both before and after classes.
The most difficult jump she can master right now, at ten years old, is what’s known as a double lutz. That’s where a figure skater takes off using the back outside edge of her feet, landing on the back edge of the opposite foot. To increase the difficulty, Kent said she’s working on a triple toe, double axle jump. To put that in perspective, elite skaters at the Olympics struggle to hit the triple toe combination.
On Thursday, Oct. 13, Caitlyn and her mom Tricia packed up to Ashton, Pennsylvania, where this year’s regional competition will be held. It’s the first time Caitlyn has a chance to advance past the regional level. As a 10-year-old, she has a chance to move on to the Junior Nationals competition in December, if she finishes in the top seven.
“It’s really fun, traveling,” Caitlyn said. “I get to see a lot of places I wouldn’t be able to, otherwise.”
Caitlyn’s mom said she’s constantly impressed with how her daughter juggles all the responsibilities that go along with this life.
“I don’t know how she does it,” Tricia Warters said. “ We’re on the ice at least four hours a day, she has school, then homework. It’s a huge commitment for a ten year old.”
Caitlyn’s stepdad Jeff also serves as her coach, Warters said, making it easier on the family of five, which includes a younger eight year old sister who also skates and a five year old.
“It’s very busy, but it’s worth it, seeing her do what she loves,” Warters said.