WHITMAN — For the Urzuas, roller skating runs — er, rolls — in the family.
All three of Betty Urzua’s children are headed to national competition in Spokane, Wash., to compete for the All Star Skating Club at the U.S. Championships from July 17 to 30.
“My family has always roller skated,” she said. “My grandparents roller skated, my father — I competed myself. But when we moved to Massachusetts [from California], we didn’t know where there was a roller rink.”
That was, until her older son Jonathan became a rink manager at Carousel.
“He told me I could bring the kids in,” Betty said. “I wanted them to learn how to roller skate and they fell in love with it and they just continued on.”
Members of the Carousel team performed in an exhibition of their skating skills at their home rink, the Carousel Family Fun Center on Auburn Street, Sunday, June 30 as a fundraiser to help send the club’s National Roller Skating Team to Spokane to defend their titles and do their best.
“The best part [of going to Nationals] is the experience of it,” Joshua Urzua said before Sunday’s benefit show. He has done both solo and team skating.
He doesn’t see pre-competition nerves as a problem.
“I just go to do the best I could,” he said. They practice about 10 hours a week, but little sister Elsy said that goes up prior to Nationals.
Fellow skaters Laura and Christopher Miller, 10, of Brockton are also returning to Nationals.
“We’re a team,” Christopher said, noting that he likes the variety of roller skating. “I like how you can make up routines and be creative — I like the precision, how you have to work hard to make a performance. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid and I love it.”
“I like the coaches,” said Laura. “They’re strict, but they’re fun.”
For some skaters, the team combines a sport they love with an opportunity to be with their best friends.
Maddison, 6, and Kayleigh Donovan, 9, of Duxbury took a preschool class they loved and it led to lessons and joining the All-Star team. They have both competed at the 2019 regional competition, placing in the tiny tot (Maddison) and juvenile (Kayleigh) divisions.
Mia Antonelli of Pembroke is another skater who followed a friend into the sport.
“I like that I get to see my friends,” Mia said.
“I like how you can do a bunch of tricks and routines,” said Jocelyn Hartsgrove of East Bridgewater, who has been skating for just a year.
“I was roller skating one day and saw this girl named Lauren, now she’s my best friend,” said Emage Ogletree of Brockton. “She introduced me to everyone in the skate club and I asked my grandma about skating. She said yes and I signed up. I like the jumps and spins and everything.”
Club members performed their National routines Sunday, as the public was afforded an opportunity to put some skates on to join them on the floor. Raffles and a bake sale were also featured, and those who still wish to help support the team can send donations to the All Star Skating Club in care of the Carousel Family Fun Center, 1055 Auburn Street, Whitman, MA 02382.
The Urzuas skate from three to eight hours total, at least four days a week, according to mom Betty.
“It’s something they really enjoy doing,” she said. “My son and my daughter both want to go to worlds.” The World competiton is in Spain next week.
The youngest three Urzua children competing are Isaiah, 17; Joshua, 15; and Elsy, 11, and are in their fifth year of competitive skating. They have qualified for Nationals in 11 events — her daughter has qualified in figures, during which skaters must perform an accurate figure pattern on the rink; loops, solo, creative and team dance.
The figures are similar to the compulsory figures ice skaters one had to successfully perform to advance in competitions such as the Olympics. Loops involve a teardrop turn and solo performances are similar to the compulsory ice dance stage of completion where skaters must perform accurate edging and other skills. Creative is a free-style performance.
There is another brother-sister duo on the team who have won nearly every single event they have entered at National, Urzua said. Two other families also have members competing.
There are a total of seven children under age 18 competing, and six adults.
For Lisa Scarborough and Stephen Mills, who are also going to Nationals, that comes ddown to the camaraderie and competition.
“It’s like a family,” Scarborough said. “Both of us have been skating for most of our lives.”
Coaches at All-Star aim only for their young skaters to do their best through teaching the skills and letting fun take over as the skaters help each other improve.
“We brought our daughter to a Saturday lesson back in February to skate for her very first time,” the parents of a new club member said. “We wanted her to learn to skate in time for her birthday party. … She absolutely loves all of her new friends and awesome coaches. Everyone is extremely kind, helpful, inclusive and polite week after week. We couldn’t be happier with the progress she’s made skating and also socially.”
Betty Urzua knows what that mom is talking about.