Wexford native wins international figure skating event
TribLIVE Sports Videos
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Road Trip! Destination: Chicago
- Indiana couple’s bond grows stronger after devastating accident
- West Virginia whips Oklahoma State for 4th straight win
- Georgia Tech runs all over mistake-prone Pitt
- Health care law compliance complex for employers
- Steelers notebook: Ex-Steeler Sanders living up to his word
- Original director seeks a restoration for new version of ‘Annie’
- Inappropriate dress wears thin in schools, courts, jails, elsewhere
- Cooking Class: Cuisine as varied as wine selection at Open Bottle Bistro
- Shooting for net-zero: Equal energy in, out of the home
- Mild spaghetti squash can stand in for pasta