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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Smyrna athlete wins speed skating title

  • Smyrna resident Mike Siembida recently won a speed skating title in New Mexico.
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  • In-line speed skating may not be the most well-known sport in the Smyrna area, but it may soon become very popular if local resident Mike Siembida has anything to say about it.
    Siembida recently returned from Albuquerque, New Mexico where he successfully competed in the USA Roller Sports National Championships for 2013 at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
    During the competition, Siembida won the overall Classic Men's division, ages 25-29, for inline speed skating. He won first place in the 500-meter race, second in the 1,000-meter race, and fourth in the 2,000-meter event. This is the third time he has competed in the Nationals, and the first time he has come home with medals and the National Champion jersey. He had to endure numerous heats, and he then raced against six others in the finals to claim the medals.
    Siembida's mother, Mara Grose said Mike has been skating since he was quite young, at age nine or ten, when he was invited to a roller skating party. After skating a few years, he took a break to do other things in life, then got back into skating about four years ago. Siembida is a graduate of Smyrna High School, where he participated in tennis and soccer. He began skating in Dover, where he was mentored by long-time coach Virgil Dooley.
    According to Mike's long-time girlfriend, Jamie Fritchman, he is now practicing at the Christiana Skating Rink in New Castle County, where he has two coaches, Cheryl Ristine and Lenny Morgan. "I haven't been to many of Mike's competitions, but I got a chance to go with him to New Mexico, and it was amazing to see him compete live, and then win the national championship. It's something I will always remember," she said. Siembida is taking a short vacation from competitive skating, but plans to return to practice in the fall, and more competitions by the end of the year.
    When he's not practicing his athletic craft, Mike works for a welding company in Smyrna.
    The three-week National Championships drew more than 8,000 competitive athletes, families and coaches. This year, the events included inline speed skating events and roller figure skating competitions. Competition divisions range from youth through masters level competition by individuals in their 70s. Albuquerque will again host the competition in 2015.

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