The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


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On the rink of success

Micayla Pang and her 8-year ice skating journey
M. Pang
Performing at the Eastern sectional competition, junior Micayla Pang executes a trick.

As she steps onto the ice, the crowd goes silent and the chill of the rink hits her. The music begins, she slices the ice with her blade and the breeze flows through her dazzling dress as she begins to spin.  

Junior Micayla Pang had been balancing two-hour practices each day with Jefferson’s heavy workload. Dedicated and resilient, Pang has attended national competitions, sectionals and trips around the country. After receiving a Christmas gift from her grandfather, Pang’s skating interests began at the young age of eight years old. 

“My grandfather bought me ice skates, and I just started taking lessons after that,” Pang said. 

She demonstrated her skill easily, quickly progressing through her lessons. 

“First, I took learn-to-skate classes, like Basic 1, Basic 2, and I started to pass all of these levels really, really quickly,” Pang said. “I was skipping levels, and then eventually I got to freestyle and started to compete.”

Even for a naturally talented skater like Pang, mistakes and flaws are not unusual. 

“This is a common difficulty, but [I struggled with] just lots of falling, and skating is just really hard in general. It’s a very big time commitment, so I had to sacrifice my piano and other extracurriculars that I did,” Pang said. 

Despite Pang’s hard work in school and skating, there were still sacrifices when balancing school work with daily two-hour practices. 

“It’s really hard. Honestly I don’t know how I do it at times, but I do have to sacrifice my sleep and just study a lot,” Pang said. 

While skating is definitely something that Pang wants to build on, academics can be the priority at times. 

“I just want to see how far I can go in skating. My goal is not really to go to the Olympics, because I know that requires so much time and most of the people who go to the Olympics are home-schooled, but I would say academics are my main focus,” Pang said. “My goal for this season is to go to sectionals, and in the future I want to qualify for nationals or junior nationals.” 

Pang has previously qualified for the sectionals competition, which is the top 24 skaters in the nation, as well as National development camp, which is the top four skaters in Pang’s level in the entire U.S. 

“I qualified for sectionals last year, [and] my goal for the entire last season was to qualify for the National Development camp.” Pang said. “After the short program I was fifth place, so I had to get to fourth. I skated a really good long program, and then I qualified for the National Development team, and that was my best experience in skating. I got to go to San Jose, Calif. for the camp, which is taught by Olympic-level coaches and the top athletes in the nation.”

This year, Pang recently attended the National Qualifying Series in Boston and had tight competition when attempting to qualify for sectionals.

“I actually didn’t have my best skate there. I fell quite a few times, but I managed to get fourth place (in the specific competition), and I almost qualified for sectionals,” Pang said.

 “I am 25th (in the overall ranking), and they take the top 24 people, so I was kind of sad about that, but it’s ok because I’m the first runner-up so if someone withdraws then they’ll invite me, so I have a chance.” 

Even after difficult competitions, there are still people who inspire her to do more. 

“My favorite skater when I first started was Yulia Lipnitskaya. Her flexibility is amazing, and her jumps and artistry just really inspired me,” Pang said. 

Through her inspiration and dedication, Pang has fallen in love with the sport like no other. 

“I enjoy competing. I love the feeling of just being out on the ice all by myself and listening to the music, expressing myself through the movement of skating,” Pang said.

From the November 2023 Issue of tjTODAY

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