Keep calm and skate on

‘You’re in the right place.’ That’s the phrase repeatedly heard from multiple coaches and friends that reassured freshman Keyton Bearinger that he was on the right track. Bearinger and his family set out for Boston, Mass. on Saturday, Jan. 4, in order for Bearinger’s competition in the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Keyton’s mother, Marla Bearinger, drove from their home here in Midland through Canada to get to Boston.

“It took about 20 hours even though it was only supposed to take 12,” Keyton said. “We watched all four of the ‘Lethal Weapon’ movies in a row.”

Keyton is a pairs skater, meaning he skates with his partner, 11-year-old Pelagia Pamel, at the Detroit Skating Club where they practice about three times a week. After placing third at the Midwestern Sectionals in East Lansing, Keyton and Pamel discovered they’d be traveling to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston.

“The first time I stepped on the ice in Boston I was very surprised,” Keyton said. “The ice rink they had there was a make-shift rink which means the ice is hollow. To a skater, that makes a big difference.”

There were a number of jumps and lifts during the routine and Keyton experienced a minor fault during his performance with Pamel.

“The first axel was clean but [during] the second one, my foot spazed out when I went to land and I ended up falling,” Keyton said.

Though there is a certain disappointment when something goes wrong, skating, like any sport, isn’t all physical. Coaches offered pieces of advice and assisted the pair in keeping their heads held high and their thoughts positive.

“I mostly tried to not get upset if things weren’t going right,” Keyton said. “Coaches [and] parents are always telling me that people are always watching me and if I get upset that looks bad on me. If the judges see that [I’m upset] the scores are more likely to go down. I basically try to keep my cool and present the best [that] I can.”

With an overall score of 30.33, Keyton and Pamel placed 10th out of 12 teams. Keyton thought making it to a national competition after just a few years of skatingwas a big achievement, his family felt the excitement as well.

“I’m very proud of my brother,” senior Alexis Bearinger said. “To be able to accomplish something this huge in such a little time and at his age is impressive. I look forward to seeing him achieve his dream.”

Achieving a dream is just what Keyton plans to do.

“Well, I’m not old enough to participate in the Olympics, but it’s a definite goal,” Keyton said. “I hope [to go] back to Nationals and have another good time and do better than we did last time.”

All in all, making the cut to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships proved to be a positive experience for Keyton and his family.

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Ashleigh Reynolds

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