Local skater heads to the US Figure Skating National Championships

Since the age of 4, Isabella Alexis has been preparing for the opportunity to skate at the U.S. Figure Skating National Championships; this year she and her partner Ethan Alday step onto that ice. While many hold the National Championships as a dream, they are making it a reality.

Isabella, a sophomore at Dexter High School and resident of Manchester, will be representing Michigan with Alday in Intermediate Ice Dance at the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships to be held Dec. 29, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018 in San Jose, Calif. Ethan and Isabella qualified for the National Championships at the Pacific Coast Sectionals competition in Spokane, Wash., last month.

To qualify for the championships, skaters must place within the top four on the podium in one of three sectional tournaments. Ethan and Isabella placed fourth in the largest sectional, ranking them as one of the top 12 Intermediate Ice dance Pairs in the nation. Coached by Charlotte Maxwell and Ryan Devereaux, themselves national senior ice dancers, the team looks to challenge themselves at their first national competition.

For Isabella, the ice path began while watching TV at the age of 4 when she was inspired by the dance teams of Tanith Belbin & Ben Agusto and Meryl Davis & Charlie White. She first took the ice at the Arctic Coliseum Arena in Chelsea, where she began coaching with Meredith Longoria who encouraged her to consider ice competition. As a champion with the Michigan Basic Series, she soon met, Ethan, her future ice dance partner, at the Jackson Optimist Basic Skills Competition in 2009, where they continued to place back-to-back in several events for several seasons before becoming partners.

Ethan was 6, when his friend invited him to a “Learn to Skate” session at the Bowling Green State University Ice Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio. His feelings about skating were cold at best, as he left the arena, he exclaimed, “I never want to see ice again, not even in my pop!”

The next day, after an evening on make shift carpet skates, he was begging to get back to the arena. He quickly connected with coach, Shelly Bressler and began developing his skills through the USFSA and ISI basic skills programs. Inspired by Olympic and national skaters, Scott Hamilton and Alissa Czisny, Ethan continued to hone his skills dually as a member of the Findlay Silver Blades and Detroit Skating Club with coach Amber Czisny. He quickly became involved with the Michigan Basic Series where he won his division 3 years in a row and ended up meeting his future partner in competition, Isabella.

Training separately, with Isabella at the Arctic Edge Arena in Canton, and Ethan at the Detroit Skate Club, their paths crossed many times. In fall of 2012, they considered skating together, but were not a considered a good match at that time.

From here, their paths diverged with Bella skating through the USFSA testing system, while Ethan spent two years competing in ISI and performing in ice shows with the Findlay Silver Blades. In 2015, with both also training at the Brownstown Sportsplex with coach Gary Clark, he suggested they consider testing together for ice dance.

Anastasia Olson had been working with Ethan at DSC, and Isabella with Tim McKernan at Canton, so they met in Canton, tested and were soon paired. Here, the journey continues with both training together as an ice dance team in Canton.

This season has seen the pair continue to advance as skaters through competitions in Baltimore, Maryland, Chicago, Illinois and Novi, leading to their national qualification at the Spokane sectional tournament. Particularly challenging this year, the field in Intermediate Ice Dance is one of the toughest in years with several of the other teams having completed within the division at previous nationals in the division.

This is Ethan and Isabella’s first trip to the US Nationals.

For more information about Ethan and Isabella, visit their web page at https://alexisaldayicedance.weebly.com or find them on Facebook or for direct information, please feel free to contact alday4n6@yahoo.com.

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