Student speedskater glides past competition


Junior Shaner LeBauer competes at the 2012 Age Group National Championship for speedskating in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

By Emilie Plesset, Online Editor-In-Chief

New student junior Shaner LeBauer has more on his mind than just making new friends and navigating the CHS hallways. As a nationally competitive speedskater he hopes to take his skating to a higher level.

“This season I only have one goal in mind, and that’s to make the Junior World team,” LeBauer said. “I have had some near misses to my goals in the past, but I keep thinking to myself that this is the year to do it.”

LeBauer began speed skating when he was 10 years old as a way to cross train for ski racing, his athletic focus at the time.

“I was very reluctant to begin, but when I saw speedskating in the 2006 Olympics I decided I really wanted to try it,” LeBauer said. “From there on, speedskating pretty much took over my life.”

LeBauer trains six days a week at rinks in Wheaton, Cabin John, Laurel and Prince William, VA. In addition to individual intensive training, LeBauer trains with the Potomac Speedskating Club (PSC) with practices consisting of an hour of an off-ice workout and an hour and a half of on-ice practice.

“Shaner works really hard,” fellow speedskater Lexi Burkholder said. “He is really focused and really analytical about all the little technical aspects about skating.”

In previous years, South Korean 1998 Olympic gold medalist Dong-Sung Kim coached LeBauer along with the PSC.

“He kick-started my skating career by pushing me to train harder than I had in the past,” LeBauer said.

Currently LeBauer is coached by Hyun-Jung Lee, the coach from his first year of skating.

“I improved tremendously since I have trained under her and have only improved further since,” Shaner said.

LeBauer’s previous speedskating accomplishments include a sixth place finish in the 2011 American Cup races, where he finished as the top junior contender and beat a national team skater. He also won the gold medal in the 2011 U.S. National Short-Track Speedskating Championship.

“I enjoy the competitive aspect of it more than anything,” LeBauer said. “It’s just the competitiveness and the thrill of winning a race.”

While speedskating is an important part of LeBauer’s life, academics are his first priority. Unlike most top speedskaters who are homeschooled and postpone college, LeBauer, who previously attended Sidwell Friends School, is looking forward to continuing his education at CHS and then in college.

“It’s a long term goal of mine to go to the Olympics in 2018 or 2022,” LeBauer said. “But college is my number one priority.”