Russett resident Eric Mical, right, and his pairs partner, Natalie Barros, left, practice at the Laurel Skating Center in North Laurel.
Russett resident Eric Mical, right, and his pairs partner, Natalie Barros, left, practice at the Laurel Skating Center in North Laurel. (Submitted photo)

The summer Olympics are not too far away but how many of you remember the talented ice skater Tara Lipinski who won a gold medal in the 1998 winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan? Did you know she was a roller skater first where she learned her techniques? I didn't either, but that leads me to my story about a very talented young man and Russett resident, 12-year old Eric Mical.

Eric is a roller skater who competes on a regular basis. He recently won the 2016 New Jersey Open Championship, receiving two gold medals and a plaque. Eric started roller skating when he was 4 years old and started artistic skating lessons at age 10. He has also won three first-place medals and two second-place medals in five competitions, as well as one first-place medal with his partner in a pairs competition.

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His inspiration was derived by watching fellow roller skaters Tony Deluca, Rebecca Sims and his pairs skating partner, Natalie Barros, a 12-year-old marvel on roller skates who has been skating for six years at the Laurel Skating Center.

Eric's next competition, the SouthEastern Region Figure Skating Championships, is Saturday, June 18 to Monday, June 20 in Greensboro, N.C. If all goes well, Eric will be eligible to attend the 2016 U.S. National Figure Skating Championships in Lincoln, Neb., being held from Sunday, July 24 to Saturday, August 6.

Eric practices approximately seven hours a week at the Laurel Skating Center in North Laurel under the tutelage of coach Ronald Fitzgerald, of Jessup, an inductee into the USARS Athletes Roller Skating Hall Of Fame in 2001. There is no team per say but approximately 20 to 30 very talented young skaters make up the National Capital Dance and Figure Club of which Eric is a part and not everyone participates in competitions.

Eric is extremely active and when he doesn't skate, he plays soccer for the Maryland City Recreation Council Mustangs, and when he has down time, he loves reading about exotic cars and is an excellent Lego builder of cities, towers, cars and such. When asked if he would ever transition to figure skating on ice, he stated in not so many words a resounding "no"; but he would have to see, after all he is only 12 years old. Good luck, Eric, on your upcoming competition. I'll follow up with Eric's success in a future column.

On May 22, my good friend and Russett resident, Bill Berned, along with many other riders from all over the United States, participated once again in the American Diabetes Association's annual Chesapeake Bay Tour De Cure event. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Tour De Cure Program and the fifth anniversary of the Chesapeake Bay Tour De Cure. The money raised to help stop diabetes is used for ongoing research, education and diabetes advocacy. Congrats, Bill!

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