Skater's surprise win could lead to nationals
By NANCY MORGAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 4, 2000
Dana Karelus thought she could place among the top four ice skaters, but a win was unexpected.
The Countryside High School senior was first in the senior short program, second in the long program and first overall.
"I was overwhelmed," said Karelus, 17, of Safety Harbor. "I thought if I did a pretty clean program at regionals, I could be among the top four. I was really surprised to win."
Karelus is preparing for this month's Eastern Sectional Championships in Marlboro, Mass. A top-four performance in the Nov. 15-18 event would put Karelus in the U.S. National Championships.
"If I do a really clean program, I think I can do it," she said of her sectional chances. "I try to think just about me when I am competing and go out and just do my job on the ice."
Karelus first began skating when she was 5 years old. She entered her first competition when she was about 7.
Trips to Centre Ice at Countryside Mall for the native Buffalo, N.Y., youngster developed into private lessons with 1992 Olympic bronze medalist Petr Barna at the Tampa Bay Skating Academy.
For more than a year, Barna has coached Karelus on her jumps and techniques. His wife, Andrea, helps with the artistic side of the sport.
"I could immediately see the potential in Dana," Barna said. "It's so good for her to have success.Dana is a powerful skater. This win will motivate her to practice even harder.
"The sectionals are important," he said, "but they don't determine how far you'll be able to go."
Karelus had been to regional competitions several other times. She placed third in the intermediate level four years ago to qualify for sectional competition, in which she was sixth.
With a national championship berth on the line, this trip to sectionals is even more significant.
"I am spending a lot of time here at the rink to prepare," Karelus said. "There's not much time after the regionals, though, so I'm trying to polish my routines."
In addition to Karelus' success, two intermediate pair teams from the Tampa Bay Skating Academy qualified for the Junior National Championships -- Lauren Altman and partner and the brother-sister squad of Ionae and Mehana Hu.
FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: Youth conferences will be in post-season play the next two weeks.
In the Pasco Police Athletic League, today's games will determine teams for the Super Bowl, Nov. 18 at the West Hernando Sports Complex.
East Lake plays Lutz for the varsity and junior varsity conference titles, and Tarpon Springs meets East Lake in the Flyweight division.
The Pinellas Youth Football Conference (PYFC) enters its semifinal round this weekend at Gibbs Complex.
Today's action begins at 8 a.m. and features three junior varsity games, a flag matchup between Lakewood and Pinellas Park and four varsity games. The finals are Nov. 11 at the complex.
Varsity quarterfinal games begin at 8 a.m. today at St. Petersburg Catholic High School. Azalea is the host for the Suncoast Youth Football Conference.
This weekend's winners advance to the semifinals Nov. 11-12 at the Seminole Chiefs' complex. JV quarterfinal games are Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m.
SWIMMING: Robert Margalis has been honored as the Florida Swimmer of the Year in the long and short course seasons.
Margaliscompiled the most points throughout the season's events.
Of special significance was the announcement of Margalis being named the Florida Senior Swimmer of the Year.
He was recognized for being fifth overall worldwide in the 800 freestyle, which was the highest world-ranking for a male swimmer in Florida.
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