Tell me about yourself outside of skating.
Outside skating, I spend time studying, reading, and training my dog. I have a black Labrador retriever named Ina. I named her after the Ina Bauer, my favorite transition.
How do you balance the demands of an elite high school and elite skating?
When I am skating, I focus on skating. When I'm studying, I focus on my schoolwork. This way, I'm not distracted while skating or studying. I skate a couple sessions in the morning, study during the day, and skate several sessions in the afternoon: very much like a regular school-skating schedule, except a little more flexible.
You didn't qualify for sectionals as a novice last season and now you're the Eastern Sectionals Champion. What changes did you make in the last year to lead to your success?
Rather than focus on what others were doing, I focused on improving my skating. I have worked very hard to improve all of my elements including my triples.
What do you think sets you apart as a skater?
I feel I am the complete skater. I have strong components and spins. My jumps have been slower to come, but some of them are there and others are very close behind.
Talk to me about the upcoming International Children's Games.
The International Children's Games is fashioned after and sanctioned by the IOC but for younger athletes. They have both summer and winter games, as well. This year, the winter games are going to be held in Ufa, Russia. The participants come from cities from around the world rather than from countries. This gives more athletes the opportunity to participate. We will live in dorms like the Olympic Village and spend time with competitors from around the world.
Yes, I am inspired by this history. When I was very little, I actually skated with Ashley Wagner. I also look up to Derrick Delmore, who also used to skate at Mount Vernon Recreation Center. Both of them trained with my coach, Shirley Hughes.
What are your goals for nationals?
My main goal is to do my best, and have fun. Since this is my first nationals I really just want to enjoy the experience.
Are there any skaters you look up to and what about them do you hope to emulate in your skating?
I would really like to be as flexible as Sasha Cohen, of course. I have always looked up to Michelle Kwan, as well. I hope to emulate her hard work, dedication, and success.
Anything else you want people to know?
One of my favorite things in school this year is being a Mentor to a fellow student athlete. She is a dancer but we enjoy sharing our similar experiences.