Skater's life is busy, but she and family are in it for the long haul

Neighbors

April 09, 1999|By Lourdes Sullivan | Lourdes Sullivan,SUN STAFF

IT'S THAT time of year again when the Columbia Figure Skating Club presents its spring show. This year, skaters will perform to an assortment of Broadway tunes and one of our area skaters, Anna Campos, will be featured.

The Laurel 16-year-old will skate in a pairs routine with University of Delaware sophomore Ronnie Biancosino of Newark, Del.

Not a bad feat for a junior at Atholton High School. But the story behind all this is better.

Anna has been skating forever, it seems. She joined the Columbia Figure Skating Club at 8 and took group lessons there. She later convinced her parents that she was a serious skater, so she started taking private lessons.

The young girl showed aptitude, and that meant more lessons and lots of time skating and finding coaches around the state who could help hone her skills. In the meantime, her older brother, Bryan, was playing a great game of soccer on area teams. Her dad, Gil, worked for the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, with its rotating shifts, and her mother, Paula, for AT&T.

It's not hard to imagine what a fractured family life the Camposes led for a long time. Her mother is still astonished by it all. Gil would often be driving Bryan to a soccer game while Paula and Anna attended skating functions.

Bryan spent the summer between high school and college overseas as part of an international soccer team. He's enrolled at the University of Delaware studying engineering and is on the dean's list.

There were other changes in the busy family's life, too. Paula Campos was twice president of the Columbia Figure Skating Club and twice the coordinator of the ice shows the club puts on.

About five years ago, Gil Campos retired from the police force after 30 years and bought a big rig. He's now an independent trucker. Apparently, all that driving his son and daughter to competitions agreed with him.

But he still was involved in his family's pursuits. Once he took his rig and a load to New Jersey so he could see his daughter at her first competition. He parked the truck as close to the rink as he could and then ran three miles to the event.

As for Anna, she turned 16 in July and now drives herself to lessons. And she's acquiring new skating skills, too. After several successful years as a solo skater, she and Ronnie recently won first place in the pairs novice division in the South Atlantic Regionals and the Eastern Sectionals.

And they've known each other for only nine months.

Ronnie lost his longtime partner when she decided to stop skating. His coach scouted a competition in the latter part of the year and noticed Anna. He spoke to Denise Cahill, Anna's coach, and a partnership was struck.

It took six weeks of skating together for Anna and Ronnie to learn that their styles matched. It's been a bit of an adjustment for Anna though -- like all single skaters she's used to having the entire rink to herself during a performance.

The teen-ager has a busy schedule. Her high school classes are on alternate days, with school ending some days at 10: 30 a.m. On those days she looks for a public skating session so she can practice and take a class. Cahill often will join her and work on her training.

Sometimes Anna will drive to the University of Delaware -- not to see her brother but for two practice sessions with Ronnie, a lift class and maybe a workout in a gym. Then it's a long drive home.

Somehow she finds time to do homework. Her mother periodically drives her to school, when Anna can catch up on her reading for honors English and a government course. She's also studying statistics and physics.

While Anna is in training, Paula can take out her portable computer and get some work done. After days like these, everyone goes home for some deserved rest.

Paula says skating is beneficial for a student -- "the one thing it does teach is time management and independence. A majority of good skaters are excellent students."

She says the kids also develop emotional maturity; they can control how they skate, but not how they are ranked. The youths learn to handle disappointments early. They also learn the value of perseverance.

Pub Date: 4/09/99

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