Clipper Staff Writer
SALT LAKE CITY — One Davis County skater is taking on the world.
Layton skater Mitchell Friess will compete at the 2013 U.S. International Figure Skating Classic, set for Sept. 11-15 at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex. This is the teen’s first international competition, which he qualified for by competing in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships earlier this year.
“It’s pretty exciting for me, but it’s also kind of nerve-wracking,” said Friess. “My goal is to get out there and try everything in my program. I’m not so concerned about landing all the elements. What I’m concerned about is trying it.”
Friess, who has been skating since he was five years old, has been training for the September event since he first received word he had qualified for it. There are only 12 slots in the novice level, the one Friess competes in, so he had to race to sign up.
“If you don’t do it fast, all the slots are filled,” he said.
Once he secured his spot, Friess and his coaches began working on choreography. He describes his short program as being more abstract, with percussion-heavy music, while his long program will be set to a song from the movie “Inglorious Basterds.”
“It’s a lot slower than my shorter program, with more military actions,” said Friess.
Though he’s had years to refine his technique, there are always challenges. One of these for Friess is the triple jump, which requires the skater to do three full revolutions in the air before landing.
“One thing I have a problem with on those is pulling in.” he said, meaning the act of pulling his arms and legs in toward himself as he spins. “The jumps are really big. They can be really scary, especially if you haven’t landed them yet.”
When he does taste that success, however, the feeling is glorious.
“My favorite thing about skating is the feeling you get when you land a new move for the first time,” he said. “You’re trying so hard and want to learn it so badly, and when you land it you’re so excited.”
Even as he keeps pushing himself on the ice, Friess will also be enjoying himself off the ice. In between his programs, the teen is also planning to enjoy the competition from a fan’s perspective.
“Some really big-name skaters are going to be there,” said Friess. “It will be fun to skate on the same ice as they are.”
Some of those skaters include Evan Lysacek, who will be competing for the first time since winning the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics, the 2013 U.S. Champion Max Aaron, 2013 World Champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White, and more. The skaters will try for a spot on the 2014 U.S. Olympic team, which will be chosen in January.
“You see them on TV and think they’re so amazing,” said Friess. “Seeing them in person is another thing to look forward to.”
Tickets for each day of competition are $10, with all-event tickets available for $30. Tickets can be purchased at the door starting Sept. 12. For more information, visit usfigureskating.org.