Speed the way to win
Not only is skating fun but it is competitive. Coaches Dave and Arlene Beagle from Danville come to Hughesville once a week to work with the speed skating team at Trout Pond Park. The team was organized two months ago to promote skill, speed and good sportsmanship according to the Beagles. “This is the level where skaters start to compete,” said Arlene Beagle. Once they master the basics, they learn how to compete, gain speed and practice by skating against each other.
David Beagle is president of the Eastern Inner Rink Speed League and his wife, Arlene is Secretary/Treasurer. There are four teams that compete among each other in the North American Roller Skating Association which is national. The members are timed by laps. For example, it might take two minutes to do 1,000 meters at about 25 to 30 miles an hour.
“We have thirteen skaters on the team now and we are looking to add more members,” said Arlene. Players range from age four on up and they have to be registered in the League in order to compete. “Our oldest member is 65 years old,” said Arlene.
The members are divided into age groups. “Girls compete against girls and boys compete against boys,” said David Beagle. Trophies are awarded based on placement.
The league starts to practice in September and they compete in the spring. The first meet was held last month at Trout Pond. Overall the team placed first and ranged from first to third for placement according to the Beagles. Other races will take place at Magic River in Danville, Skatetown in Bloomsburg and Skateland in Selinsgrove. The team gets to practice together one day a week for about an hour at Trout Pond.
Judy Ryder says she likes to skate as much as she can. “I grew up behind Trout Pond Park so I was always on skates when I was a kid,” she said. She now lives in Moreland Township and says she is always looking for a place to practice. One day she said she swept the stones off the parking lot behind the high school just so she could practice speed skating. “I love it so much. It keeps me in good shape,” said Ryder who is in her mid-forties.
Back in the 80’s speed skating was very popular but the numbers are down according to the coaches who have been coaching since the mid 80’s. “We had 70 members at that time,” they said.
Speed skating can be done on quads or by using in-line skates. Some of the team members do both and bring both sets of skates. In the next few weeks, the team will be racing against teams from New Jersey and Pennsylvania.