Is Northern Virginia becoming a figure skating powerhouse? On Saturday night, Fairfax County’s Ashley Wagner, a 21-year-old graduate of West Potomac High in the Alexandria area, won her second straight women’s U.S. championship, and she now has to be considered a serious medal contender at next year’s Winter Olympics.
Fairfax’s Michael Weiss is of course the Northern Virginia standard bearer in figure skating. The W.T. Woodson grad won the U.S. men’s title three times, took bronze in two world championships, and he innovated the “Tornado,” in which he was the first to do a back flip with a full twist. He did not medal in two Olympics.
But NoVa’s got more talent on the way. Three teenaged girls who train at the Ashburn Ice House in Loudoun County all reached the finals of the Junior Ladies championships: Madison Vinci, 16, finished sixth; Brianna Laxson, 13. who recently demonstrated axels and toe loops for Slate, was eighth; and Maria Yang, 15, the Eastern Sectional champ, finished ninth. All three skate for the Washington Figure Skating Club. And on the men’s side, Armin Mahbanoozadeh, 21, from Great Falls and Langley High School finished 12th in the Men’s competition. All are young and could be future stars.
Laxson in particular may be the real deal. Here’s Slate’s really well done video on her, shot in Ashburn with great additional footage from her family. She goes to Farmwell Station Middle School, and she is ridiculously mature and knowledgable for 13. She is targeting the 2018 Olympics, which sounds ridiculously reasonable. We will follow.