TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Wexford native wins international figure skating event

- Figure skater Leah Keiser, who grew up in Marshall Township, recently won an International Skating Union Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating event in Turkey. Submitted
Figure skater Leah Keiser, who grew up in Marshall Township, recently won an International Skating Union Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating event in Turkey. Submitted
- Figure skater Leah Keiser, who grew up in Marshall Township, recently won an International Skating Union Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating event in Turkey. Submitted
Figure skater Leah Keiser, who grew up in Marshall Township, recently won an International Skating Union Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating event in Turkey. Submitted
- Figure skater Leah Keiser. Submitted
Figure skater Leah Keiser. Submitted

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Karen Kadilak
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:29 p.m.
 

Figure skater Leah Keiser, formerly of Wexford, is off to an impressive start in her first year of international competition.

Keiser, 15, won the International Skating Union Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series event last month in Istanbul, Turkey.

“I've been working hard on (skating) for a lot of years,” said Keiser, a U.S. novice champion in 2010 and a U.S. juvenile champion in 2008. “I'm in a great training environment with really good coaches.”

A member of the All Year Figure Skating Club in Ontario, Calif., Keiser moved to Southern California about five years ago to train with coaches renowned for producing world-class skaters. Her training partners have included 2010 Olympic men's champion Evan Lysacek and 2012 national ladies champion Ashley Wagner.

“We were surprised Leah won,” said John Nicks, her coach since June, who has advised skaters at 11 Olympics and 37 world championships. “She's still very young. It was only her second international competition.”

After placing third in the short program, Keiser won the overall competition with a strong free skate that included six triple jumps. She finished with a combined score of 156.33 points.

“Her jumps are flawless — she's close to being one of the best I've seen,” said Christa Fassi, who helps coach Keiser.

In its 16th year, the Junior Grand Prix consists of seven international events, with a skater eligible to score points in any two. The top six scorers advance to the Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in December in Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Nicks said there are intangibles Keiser must learn in order to improve.

“She has to play up to the crowd more,” he said. “Audience reaction can play a big part in influencing judges' scores.

“With maturity, those things will come. She takes instruction very well.”

In her international debut, Keiser finished first at the 2012 International Challenge Cup in The Hague, Netherlands, in March. She was 12th at the U.S. National Championship.

A sophomore, Keiser is enrolled at a public high school in Placentia, Calif. She lives in Mission Viejo with her mother, Betty, and sister Emily, 13, who has competed as a novice skater.

Her father, Tony, a financial adviser, still lives in Wexford.

Keiser isn't the only standout athlete in her family — her half-brother, Thomas Keiser, is a defensive end with the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Steelers’ Harrison awaits go-ahead from Tomlin before practicing
  2. 4 ejections, benches-clearing scrum mark Pirates’ win over Reds
  3. Slot cornerback Boykin should give Steelers options in secondary
  4. Pittsburgh airport improvements noted as CEO tries to expand activity
  5. Inside the Steelers: Roethlisberger strong in goal-line drills
  6. Pa. breeding ground for corruption, experts say
  7. Developers share their vision for Garden Theater block on North Side
  8. Pirates notebook: Burnett says ‘surgery is not an option’
  9. Tax fight brews among Southwest Greensburg business owners, landlords
  10. Zimbabwe alleges Murrysville doctor illegally killed lion
  11. Steelers notebook: WR Bryant sidelined after minor procedure on right elbow