Two members of the Pasadena Speed Demons roller skating team recently became the first Marylanders ever to win medals at the Junior Olympic National Championships.
Glen Burnie resident Katrina Howard, 31, who has been speed skating only since last July, and Pasadena resident Tracey Gott, 13, took third and fourth place, respectively, at the nationals. The competition took place Labor Day weekend in Lewisville, Texas.
Howard competed in the G Ladies category, and Gott skated in the C Ladies division. Both qualified for the nationals by winning regional championships earlier in the year.
"I was very happy, very happy," said Howard, who placed first in the five-and 10-lap heats, but settled for second and third place in the respective races.
"I thought I would at least be able to place," she said. "My daughter helped me train and my husband and her gave me a lot of confidence. They weren't able to go to Texas with me, but I called them after every race."
Gott said, "I was shocked. It made me real happy. I wasn't sure I would do that well, because I had to skate against 30 girls."
Speed Demons coach Ron Kane of Pasadena expected both skaters to bring home medals. "They're that good," he said.
Kane added he wasn't certain Howard and Gott were the first Marylanders to win national roller skating medals until checking with officials of the U.S. Amateur Confederation of Roller Skating.
"I was thrilled about that," Howard said. "That was like the icing on the cake. I'm just glad I didn't know ahead of time. It would have made me more nervous."