Sports Spotlight: Local figure skater wins U.S. Regionals

ABINGDON, Maryland -- One place you'll find 16-year-old Mia Eckels, of Shrewsbury, six days a week, is on the ice, where she spends 15 to 20 hours a week training.

Her love for figure skating began at a birthday party eight years ago.

"That feeling of the height and the distance on the jumps and just feel like I'm flying. It's just awesome," said Mia.

Mia's hard work and dedication is paying off. Last weekend, she won the U.S. Figure Skating South Atlantic Regional Championship near Philadelphia, which qualifies her for the U.S. Sectionals in November.

She said, "I didn't expect it. It was kind of a surprise but my skates really put me up there."

She learns from one of the best in the business: Kimmie Meissner, a former World, Four Continents and U.S. National Champion. The former Olympian is the first American to hold the World, International and National title at the same time.

"I've tried to let her know some of the things I've learned through my experiences and also to keep it fun and light and make sure she's still working and progressing forward. She works so hard everyday," said Meissner.

Training aside, Mia is still a typical high schooler, juggling practice and competitions with her school work. She goes to school until 11:30 a.m and takes two classes online.

"Sometimes I do my homework in the car, to and from skating. Just to try and stay on top of my studies," said Mia.

"We get to spend a lot of time together. Driving everywhere, to competitions. It's just a lot of fun and I love seeing her progress," said Olivia Eckels, Mia's mom.

The U.S. Eastern Sectional Singles Finals will be November 12-16 in Boston, Ma.

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