Local figure skater hits gold in national competition

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John Barry
Monday, August 19, 2013

JANESVILLE—Lexandra Verdone's figure skating career is taking off.

The 16-year-old has the hardware to prove it.

Verdone won two gold medals and added silver at the State Games of America in Hershey, Pa., this past week. The State Games of America is a biennial amateur multisport event held in North America. The National Congress of State Games organizes it.

Athletes qualify for the Games by earning a medal in their respective state games in the previous two years. More than 12,000 athletes competed this past week in Hershey.

Competing in the Pre-Preliminary Artistic competition, Verdone struck gold by winning the Group G title with a routine she choreographed herself. She added to her gold collection thanks to a flawless 1-minute, 40-second routine that earned her a first-place finish in the Pre-Preliminary Free Skate. Verdone won silver in the Pre-Preliminary Compulsory Moves competition for Group H.

“I just tried to go out and skate like I had been practicing,” Verdone said of her daily 3-hour practice sessions at the Janesville Ice Skating Center. “And winning the first gold medal was really special because that was a routine that I put together.

“There were 14 girls competing in my group, so it really came down to technique and staying focused.”

Verdone began skating at age 11 and has been training under coach Nicole Booth as part of the Janesville Figure Skating Club.

“I'm going to keep training hard and working on my technique, but my long-term goal is to be a coach,” said Verdone, who next competes at the Madison Open in September.

Winning gold was not Verdone's only accomplishment at the State Games. She also was Wisconsin's flag bearer for the event's opening ceremonies. Verdone was selected from a large number of applicants after writing an essay on what it would mean to represent Wisconsin as the flag bearer.

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