Local teen skates to Nationals

By on August 9, 2019

This summer, Thomas, Jessica, and Alana Ressler of Reinholds took a cross-country trip to Washington state.

But it wasn’t sightseeing that brought this trio to the northwest.

Rather, it was Alana, a roller skater, who had the chance to compete in USA Rollersports’ National Championship late last month.

According to the organization’s website, the USA Roller Sports (USARS) is recognized by World Skate and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) as the National Governing Body of competitive roller sports in the United States, including speed, figure, hockey, roller derby and freestyle.

At only 13, Ressler already has several years of experience as well as over 10 awards and ribbons to show for it.

For her, it all began with a simple curiosity of the sport.

“I had gone to a birthday party at Skateaway (in Shillington), and I was interested in learning how to skate,” she said about her introduction to the sport.

Along the way, she connected with coaches Kathy Tini and Rick Smith, who helped guide her passion. Ressler worked hard, and after competing in several smaller competitions up and down the east coast, she was finally ready for the big time.

Alana Ressler.

In order to make the trip to Nationals, skaters first have to get in the top three (or sometimes four) at regionals. Scoring is done through a point system, with each skater begins with 100 points.

The judges then deduct points for any mistakes. Ressler stated that at smaller competitions, a score of 80 is considered great. But at nationals, a score in the 70s is considered great.

While in Spokane, Ressler competed in Elementary B figures and dance, categorized as groups ages 9-12.

“Figures is where you trace the circle on one foot,” Ressler explained. “The point is to stay on the line, there are forwards and backwards and sometimes have turns. Dance is what it sounds like. The skater is given a dance with set steps and they skate the dance to a pattern.”

The young star placed 15th in dance (out of 29) and 17th in figures (out of 27).

“Alana’s goal for her first year was to place in the middle of the pack, which she did,” her mother, Jessica, a Lititz native, said. Back home, Alana’s grandparents, Lee and Marsha Klopp of Lititz, cheered their granddaughter on from the opposite end of the country.

“My coaches are, at least in my opinion, the best around; but I might be biased,” Alana joked. “One of the most important lessons they taught me was that if it was easy everyone would be doing it, and to encourage me to try harder stuff.”

While in Washington, Alana especially enjoyed a special reunion with a friend.

Alana displays her medals and certificates of achievements in her bedroom.

“Sarah was one of Alana’s closest friends at Denver Elementary,” Jessica said. “They were both heartbroken when Sarah moved to Gig Harbor, Washington about two years ago. Gig Harbor is about 300 miles west of Spokane, but a lot closer to Spokane than Reinholds!” she added.

“Hanging out with Sarah was my favorite so far,” Alana said. While in Washington, she also visited San Juan Island and Mt. Rainier.

For those interested, Ressler stated that she, along with her coaches, teach skating Wednesdays and Saturdays at Skateaway.

Absolute beginners are welcome.

“You don’t have to know how to skate,” she said. “If you already know how to skate, my coaches will teach you more tricks or figures/dance.”

Cory Van Brookhoven is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your comments at cvanbrookhoven@lnpnews.com or 717-721-4423. 

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