Roseville’s a speedskating hot spot — even in the summer


Midway coach Chris Windman said speedskating is for everyone. “It’s not nearly as dog eat dog as the other sports.” he said, pointing out there’s a lot of camaraderie amongst skaters. “I would recommend it for anybody who likes to go fast and work hard and try to beat their best.” photos courtesy of Mary Bos

Midway Speedskating Club coach Andrey Zhuikov worked on getting a young skater’s technique just right during the club’s camp on June 23. photos courtesy of Mary Bos

Midway Speedskating Club held a camp at the Roseville OVAL June 23 and 24, which featured three elite-level speedskaters who’ve all been involved with the national team. Speedskaters Jerica Tandiman, Steven Hartman, at center, and Kyle Ronchak — the latter two are Midway alums — showed young skaters proper body positioning. photos courtesy of Mary Bos

Just as Rosefest got underway — another signal that summer really is here — a group of young speedskaters took to the ice at the Roseville OVAL to hone their year-round passion.

The Midway Speedskating Club held a skating camp at the OVAL June 23 and 24, linking local skaters with a trio of elite speedskaters and introducing them to some high-level workouts, according to Midway coach Chris Windman.

Windman, 22, is originally from Somers, New York, where he started speedskating as a kid. He came into contact with Midway and its skaters while traveling around the country for competitions.

When it came time to decide where to go to college, Windman said he chose the University of Minnesota, so he could be involved with Midway. He now lives in Roseville.

“The vibe of the club just appealed to me,” he said.

Windman said the elite skaters at the camp included a couple of Midway alums — Kyle Ronchak and Steven Hartman — along with Jerica Tandiman, who’s from Utah. All three have been on the national speedskating team.

“The focus of the camp was to get fundamental knowledge and techniques from the experienced skaters and working with Midway coaches,” Windman said, noting 22 young skaters attended the camp, and most of them were from Midway.

According to Windman, going fast is all in the details.

“Most of the speed for speedskating comes from the technique and body position and pressure on the ice,” he said, pointing out that success in the sport comes from staying low and getting the movements just right.

 

Need for speed

Roseville 12-year-old Emily Bos found Midway because of her need for speed.

“She was in figure skating and she was very bored, she wanted to go fast,” said her mother Mary, as the two of them headed to the Rose Parade the afternoon of June 26; Midway skaters were going to inline skate in the parade.

Mary said her daughter just completed her third season with the club and loves it — Emily started out in a novice speedskating program put on by the Roseville Parks and Recreation Department, which sends promising skaters to Midway.

“I like that everybody’s a big family and we help each other out when we fall and get hurt,” Emily said about the club.

Founded 1946, Midway is a nonprofit supported by speedskate parents, said Mary, who is on the club’s marketing and uniform committees. The club works with kids and teens to build character, teach good sportsmanship and to promote fitness.

“It’s a parent-run organization, so when families join everybody is contributing,” she said. “We’re doing the timing ... you name it.”

“It’s a very nice group of people and we enjoy being together.”

According to the club, since 1958 Midway skaters have filled 96 U.S World Team positions and since 1960, have filled 32 spots on the U.S. Olympic speedskating teams. The club boasts five Olympic medal-winning alums — four silver winners and one bronze winner.

Mary said the club started out skating on Como Lake, and moved to the OVAL in 1993, the same year the skating center opened.

Though not a speedskater herself, Mary said she’d given it a go.

“I put on the speedskates two times because I wanted to see what it is that they’re doing,” she said. “It’s not easy.”

 

Racing the clock

Windman, whose mother was a speedskater, graduated from the U of M in 2015, and is a graduate student at Hamline University pursuing his master’s in elementary education.

“Through coaching I just discovered how much I enjoy working with kids,” he said.

The camp was a success, Windman said, with the kids more excited than he’d seen in the past couple of years. He suggested families that have children who enjoy ice skating should take a look at Midway and the programs offered by Roseville Parks and Recreation.

“I think it’s a sport for anyone because it’s the only sport that I know of where you can succeed, but your competitors can also succeed,” Windman said. “Everybody is just racing the time clock — you’re trying to get your personal best time.”

“The club itself is such a family-oriented, team experience — like I said, I made some of my lifelong friends just skating against them in seventh grade.”

Midway keeps producing notable skaters. This spring, U.S. Speedskating announced its Junior Development Team for 2017-2018, and four of the six skaters on it are Midway alums.

Roseville is also firmly on the map in the speedskating world. In early December, the American Cup race series will be at the OVAL, before it makes two more stops in Milwaukee and Salt Lake City.

 

With Midway alums as an example, Emily, who’s going into seventh grade this fall, has her sights set.

“First I want to make the junior national team,” she said, “and then go to the Olympics.”

 

For more information about Midway Speedskating Club go to www.midwayspeedskating.org.

 

Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813. 

 

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