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It's been a great summer for Fort Wayne Ice Skating Club competitors Austin Hale and Olivia Allan, but their back-to-school routine might be the worst-ever.
Hale and Allan finished second in pairs at Skate Detroit and were informed afterward they were selected to represent USA Figure Skating in some international events. They found out last week their first opportunity will be Sept. 24-28 in Tallinn, Estonia as part of the International Skating Union Junior Grand Prix.
A recent Carroll graduate, Hale is 18, and Allan is 14 and is from Chicago. They'll be featured in a FWISC exhibition at Canlan Ice Center at 10:50 a.m. on Sept. 20.
The chance to compete against the best junior pairs teams in the world is a dream come true, but the change to coach Alena Lunin's practice schedule might be the real challenge. Because the competition in Estonia will take place at 8 a.m. local time, Lunin is asking her team to start training from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. starting Sept. 16.
"I did it when I was skating, and it can be done," Lunin said. "To go to bed at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. is going to be the toughest thing."
Sorry, Mom, I can't eat dinner because I have to go to bed early. Real early.
That's definitely one way to keep teenagers out of trouble, but Hale and Allan need the practice time. They just became a team in January, and are making incredible strides as they are still getting to know each other.
They finished second in Detroit against seven American and eight Canadian pairs.
"They are both strong skaters and work extremely hard," Lunin said. "With the amount of work they put in over the last six months, it was a possibility, but they had to perform. I knew they had three open spots, and I knew we had a chance if we skated well."
After competing in Estonia, the team will return to Fort Wayne for a week before going to Zagreb, Croatia from Oct. 8 to 12. There are four competitions, but each team is allowed to compete in two with the top six couples having a chance to advance to the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Barcelona, Spain from Dec. 11 to 14.
Then they will finally get to sleep in.