ELLENTON — Courtney Kreitling knew the moment would come.
It was only a matter of time.
The then 11-year-old had been working on the skill for what seemed like forever.
So, when one of her friends came up to her during one of her practice sessions in January 2010 and asked to see her axel, Courtney wasn’t afraid to give it a try.
Courtney began skating around the ice and, before long, she was twisting through the air.
Before she even realized what was happening, Courtney was back down standing on the ice.
“It was just a shocking moment,” Courtney says of nailing her first axel. “I had to do it a few times to make sure. It was really the starting moment for competition. If you hit more doubles, then you can move up and become really competitive.”
Now, two years later, the Haile Middle School eighth-grader is preparing to dazzle audiences with her axel and other elements during the My Favorite Things: A Holiday Skating Spectacular.
The Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex held its first holiday show in 2000 and has been celebrating the season with an ice spectacular ever since.
“It’s so much fun,” Courtney says of the annual ice show. “There are so many group numbers. Everyone is in it, so that’s always more fun.”
Courtney began skating when she was about 4-and-a-half years old. She lived within walking distance of the ice rink at the time and started attending public skating sessions for something fun to do.
Over the years, Courtney became more and more enamored with the sport and began taking lessons.
“I liked it so much,” Courtney says.
At the time, Courtney’s younger brother, Alex, now 10, would spend hours at the ice rink watching his sister skate. Following in his sister’s footsteps, Alex decided to learn how to skate, too.
“She’s fun,” Alex says of his sister. “She’s coached me once or twice.”
He completed the basic skills program before switching over to hockey.
“It wasn’t until I learned how to skate that I got hockey skates,” Alex says. “Once I got used to it, it was a lot of fun. No offense to figure skating, but it got a little boring to me.”
Alex plays hockey for a recreational league at the ice rink, but, soon, he’ll once again team up with the rink’s figure skaters for this year’s ice show.
Alex will play the role of Linus in the “Charlie Brown Christmas” number.
“It’s fun,” Alex says. “You get to skate with all of your friends and stuff and see everyone in the audience.”
Courtney, who began skating competitively four years ago, recently set a personal best of 28.21 points in the juvenile division of the South Atlantic Regionals in North Carolina.
“I was just shocked,” Courtney said. “I’ve been working all year on the same program. The competition is just so much fun, and you get to be around so many (other) people your age.”
Now, Courtney is busy preparing to help the community ring in the holiday season. She will perform in four group numbers and also will have her own solo.
“I love all of the music and being able to skate to the music,” Courtney says. “I don’t know how to describe it. That’s when you really get to skate to the music.”
Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].
IF YOU GO
My Favorite Things: A Holiday Skating Spectacular
Date: 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 1; 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2
Location: The Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex, 5309 29th St. E., Ellenton
Cost: $15 for adults; $13 for seniors over 60 and children 10 and under
Tickets available at the Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex, by calling 1-866-967-8167 or online at swffsc.org.