Two Metro Detroit ice skaters are logging a lot of hours at the Onyx Rochester Ice Arena as they prepare to compete in the US Figure Skating Championships.
Taylor Hliebay, 12 and Jacob Schenten, 16, qualified for the juvenile pairs free skate at the US Figure Skating Championships in Omaha, Nebraska later this month.
We skate seven hours a week, four or five days a week and during the summer we skated a ton. I mean, there is a lot of training," said Jacob Schenten.
Both Hliebay and Schenten skate with the Onyx Suburban Skating Academy. Schenten began skating when he was nine and fell in love with the sport.
"He was invited to a birthday party. One of his friends was having a birthday party at an ice arena and he was invited and he went out and skated and that was it. He was, it was hook, line and sinker from that, that day forward," said Jacob's mother Carol Schenten.
Hliebay was approached by coach Scott Omlor two years ago and asked to tryout to be Schenten's skating partner. The two skaters say everything fell into place and the two have been skating together ever since.
"It's something different and so I had a tryout and it came easier than I expected," said Taylor Hliebay.
Hliebay began skating when she was five years old.
Hliebay and Schenten finished second in the Midwestern Sectional competition in Cleveland in November doing a routine to the James Bond theme song. They will take that same routine to the national round of competition.
"They are 100 percent ready as far as I'm concerned training wise. We're just waiting to get on the airplane and go to nationals," said Hliebay and Schenten's coach Scott Omlor.
"You can expect to see some big throw jumps, some side by side double jumps, we can see some death spirals. The name sounds scary, but it's not that scary and of course the lifts that kind of take your breath away as you're watching them on TV," said Omlor.
Carol Schenten is thrilled for her son and Hliebay.
"It's amazing. It's, I'm so proud. I really never thought I would be standing here and I would be saying that my son is going to nationals to compete," said Carol Schenten. "There is so much that goes into it. The training and all the work all year and it comes down to that two minute and 30 seconds."
Both families had quite a moment when they realized the skating duo was going to be competing at the national level.
"We screamed and Jacob's mom Carol and I hugged for like five minutes and there were tears. It was quite a celebration," said Taylor's mother Cindy Hliebay.
Taylor Hliebay said she is excited and a little nervous to compete.
The two ice skaters said they work very well together, but they do have at least one challenge.
"Sometimes it's a challenge to keep up with him because he is taller and he can push harder than I can. So I have to watch out for that," said Hliebay.
Schenten said his mother inspires him to skate. She skated both singles and pairs and now coaches. His mother, Carol, was speechless when Local 4 told her he said that to us.
"I don't think I could put it into words," said Carol Schenten.
Both Hliebay and Schenten remain focused on the national competition and are not looking too far ahead into the future.
"It's more just going and doing what I know I can do and doing the elements I know I can do as best I can," said Schenten.
"I just want to do as good as I can do and see where it goes from there," said Hliebay.
Hliebay and Schenten compete on Jan. 25. They will have just one opportunity to perform their James Bond routine.
Coach Omlor said the two skaters plan to stay together for at least the next year.
The Onyx Suburban Skating Academy held a send off party for Hliebay and Schenten Thursday night.
If you would like to see Hliebay and Schenten's performance at the Midwestern Sectional competition, click here.