Taylor Hliebay laces her skates, puts on her game face and hits the ice. She’s ready to win - again - and at only 12 years of age, this Macomb Township athlete has set her site on a national title.
Taylor Hliebay and partner Jacob Schenten will compete Jan. 25 at the 2013 Prudential U.S. Figure Staking Competition in Omaha. Coach Scott Omlor is helping the pair prepare their two-minute, freestyle James Bond-themed routine. There’s three jumps, two spins and two lifts in the ice dance.
“The hardest part is keeping my energy up,” Hliebay said. “I have to keep pushing myself and keep going because in the end I’m really tired.”
The Iroquois Middle School seventh grader has been skating since she first enrolled in how-to classes at age five at Suburban Ice in Macomb. Today, she skates five days a week at Onyx in Rochester and Suburban Ice.
The hard work is paying off. Hliebay (pronounced Lee-Bay) has won two second-place titles along with Schenten, 16, of Oxford. The duo most recently won a silver at the Midwestern Sectionals in Cleveland on Nov. 12. This is their second trip to nationals; last year in Colorado, they took eighth place.
Hliebay’s mom, Cindy, is proud of her daughter and Jacob and continues to support the duo. “Figure skating is not an inexpensive support; anybody with a ice hobby knows that. But she loves what she’s doing and there’s a real passion. You have to support that,” she said. “You hope all their hard work pays off. We’re very excited for both of them.”
Although the competition is usually televised, its unlikely the juvenile competitions will air. Results are posted on the competition’s website and of course, Patch will follow-up with Hliebay and Scheten.