By Maggie Cornejo
LaDan Nemati ‘17 competed in the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating National Solo Dancing championships in Colorado Springs, CO. Sept. 17–20, coming away with the bronze medal. To get to nationals, more than 100 skaters across the U.S. competed at various local competitions during this past season. Of these, some 20 elite skaters (seven from the West Coast, seven from the Midwest, and seven from the Eastern region) qualified to compete. LaDan placed second out of the top six from the Eastern region entering the competition in Colorado.
How does LaDan balance it all? Being a high school student involves a busy schedule—from homework to sports to extracurriculars. Somehow, LaDan manages to attend her classes at Paul VI, skating practice, and competitions. During the school year, LaDan skates from 3:30–6 p.m., with off-ice training directly after. Every weekend, LaDan travels to Newark, Del., for synchronized skating team practices on Saturdays and Sundays. This is her first year on Team Delaware and her first year skating on a junior level. It is the second to highest level in synchronized skating, and this will be LaDan’s first year competing at a world-qualifying competition in January.
This was LaDan’s second year at a national competition. Last year, her first year, she says she went in without any expectations. LaDan ended up qualifying for the final round, however, and she won the silver medal in 2013. “I wasn’t expecting it at all, but all you have to do is believe in yourself,” she says.
Over the summer, LaDan skates five days a week, from 8 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. Ladan shares, “What skating means to me is indescribable. It is not just another sport like soccer, volleyball, or lacrosse. It’s a unique sport, and I can honestly say that it is probably one of the most mentally and physically exhausting sport. I have a love–hate relationship with skating, although coming out of competitions with medals and national rankings makes me realize how much I really love skating.”
LaDan will next compete in the Eastern Sectional Championships in Lake Placid, NY. January 21–25, and Junior World Team Selection Competition in Marlborough, Mass., February 6–7. Based on her performance in these, she is aiming for the 2015 National Synchronized Skating Championships next September.