By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
About 100 skaters donned sparkly costumes and roller skates to compete in the seventh annual Youngstown Ohio Artistic League Meet.
The all-day event Sunday at Youngstown Skate included skaters from age 5 to 75. They were from Michigan, Illinois and Canada, as well as various Ohio locations, said Youngstown Skate manager Jack Muransky.
The league meet “gives skaters an opportunity to come in and compete against one another to try to improve their skills,” Muransky said.
The skaters competed in a variety of categories including figure, dance, freestyle and pairs.
It was just the second competition for Julie White of Akron.
She skated for fun as a child, and when she lost her mother as an adult, she started skating again.
“I needed something to get back to, and I remembered as a kid how much I liked to go skating,” she said. “This is more like my outlet, my therapy.”
She started taking lessons a couple of years ago. She enjoys competing, but said it didn’t get easier the second time around. At her first competition, she was the only entry in her category – figure.
“So that was actually easier because this time there were people to compete against,” she said.
Sunday, she competed in figure, solo dance and pairs.
She came in “dead last” in figure, she said, “but that’s OK.”
It’s a good learning experience, she said.
White practices two to three times a week.
Her pairs – and real-life – partner, John Quinn, said they were excited about the meet.
“There’s a lot to learn,” he said.
Mackenzi Pietrzycki, 11, of North Royalton has been competing for about six years. She started skating at age 3.
Her great-aunt, Valerie Dales, and great-grandmother, Helen Dales, both of Parma, take her and her siblings to competitions.
“My mom really wanted to spend some quality time with them and have some fun activities, so she started taking them when they were little. She took their mother, too, when she was younger,” said Valerie.
“It’s fun,” said Mackenzi. “It’s complicated, though, sometimes.”
Competing is beneficial for the children, Valerie said.
“It’s given them so much in terms of teaching them how to compete, teaching them how to be good teammates,” she added.
It’s also given them good planning and organizational skills, she said.
Mackenzi competes in the figure category and frequently earns first place.
That feels good, she said.