The Mountain Times

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Club celebrates a successful speed skating season

RUTLAND - Members of the Green Mountain Speed Skating Club got together last week to celebrate a very successful season. The club brought home 27 medals from a single competition this year and the Master's Program is now internationally ranked for speed skating. The club calls the Spartan Arena in Rutland home but they compete all over the region, including Canada and Lake Placid, New York.

The club is the only one of its kind in Vermont and it has been active for more than 40 years. David Manfredi is the current president of the club and also acts as the operations manager for Spartan Arena. Manfredi started skating competitively as an adult which speaks to the accessibility of the sport. "There are many different distances and age classifications," he said. When it comes to youth involvement, a sport like speed skating can struggle to get young athletes involved. Manfredi chuckles when he admits that sometimes the hardest part is accepting the fact that they have to wear a speed suit.

Skating is a very technical sport, it takes some specialized equipment and it is not easily identifiable like mainstream team sports. Manfredi says "it takes a special kid to stick with it. It is great to find those individuals and they are a pleasure to work with. We are lucky to have a club that encompasses all age groups. We've had members from 8-years-old to 80." Currently, the club has about 20 members.

Molly Turco is one young member who's taken up the sport. She proudly shows off her fistful of medals. She came to speed skating after figure skating and ice hockey became too expensive. Turco said that her proudest moment from last season came from a good showing at the Bay State Games. She also got a qualifying time for junior nationals which she will attend next year.

Not everyone who is involved is chasing down medals. Jack Daggit is the most senior member and has been speed skating with the club for over 20 years. He says "I don't skate competitively; I do it for fun and fitness. I believe it mitigates the aging process. Balance and body mechanics are improved and I enjoy it."

The club is always accepting new members. If you can skate already, you can be taught to speed skate and as the members of the club will tell you, it is an exhilarating way to get some exercise. For more information or to get involved, email david.manfredi@castleton.edu.

Photo by Nathan Allen