Local ice skaters heading to National Championships

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Winter Olympics are just months away and some local ice skaters are will be competing alongside Olympic hopefuls at the U.S. Figure Skating National Championships in San Jose, California.

Noah Lafornara and Macy Halim, both 13 years old, earned their spot in the national competition when they took second place in the juvenile dance event at the Eastern Sectional Figure Skating Championships in Boston last month.

The pair from the Amherst Skating Club has been practicing together six days a week to prepare for the National Championships, which serve as the final qualifying event before the U.S. Olympic skating team is chosen

Lafornara and Halim are still too young to compete in the Olympics, but they have big dreams for the future. “I mean it would really be cool. Not a lot of people are able to say that, but we’ll see what happens,” Halim told News 4.

For now, the pair is focused on perfecting their routines for Nationals. “You really have to work hard and always try your best and have fun with it,” Noah Lafornara said before taking the ice for a practice session Saturday morning.

The skaters’ coach, who also happens to be Noah’s mom, says the pair is ready to take on competitors from around the country. “They’re very good,” Jeannie Lafornara said. “They teamed up in July of last year, so they haven’t been together that long. and we teamed up, we competed together, and we saw the judges’ reaction was so positive that we knew we had something special.”

Noah and Macy say they feel at home skating together on the ice. “We’re kind of like brother and sister,” Macy said.

“It’s really relaxing and fun. It’s really easy to just let everything go and skate,” Noah added.

Both skaters have high hopes for San Jose. “I don’t know what to expect but I think we’ll do good,” Halim said.

“I just hope I skate my best and have fun, because I’m happy with any outcome,” Noah Lafornara. “It’s nationals and not many people go.”

Halim and Lafornara are not going to be alone in representing Western New York at the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating National Championships. 19-year-old James Koszuta, of Angola, will also compete with his partner, 15-year-old Jocelyn Haines, of Marietta, in the Junior Dance Event there.

Koszuta and Haines took home silver from the Pacific Sectional Figure Skating Championships in Spokane last month, qualifying them to compete for the national title.

Like Lafornara and Halim, Koszuta and Haines will not be able to qualify to compete in the Olympics until they reach the senior level.

The 2018 U.S. Figure Skating National Championships will be held December 29, 2017 through January 8, 2018 in San Jose, California.

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