OGDEN -- 'Tis the season to be skating, and Rachel Crawford and Mitchell Friess, two young skaters from the Wasatch Figure Skating Club, are celebrating the season in style.
Friess, 13, and Crawford, 11, have qualified through the Central Pacific Regional Figure Skating Championships to skate at the Intermediate level at Junior Nationals, which will be held in Salt Lake City at the Sports Complex on Dec. 14-18.
Friess took a bronze medal at the Regionals to qualify for his second trip to Junior Nationals. Last year he placed 18th and hopes to better that by placing in the top 10.
"I'm really excited that I'm able to go again," said Friess. "Just being able to do it again seems like a lot of fun. Last year I thought, 'This might be my only year.'"
The national competition will include the top four qualifiers from nine regions, and Friess said the competition is the toughest he's been to.
"There were way more boys (at nationals) than I had ever competed against," the North Layton Junior High School student said. "That part was a little intimidating, but once I got through the qualifying round it was OK."
Friess became interested in skating after watching it with his grandmother and began lessons five years ago with The Ice Sheet's learn-to-skate program.
Coaches Karel and Amanda Korvar say Friess' work ethic and perfectionism are what make him a good skater.
"He is really particular and a very good listener," Karel Korvar said. "We give him a task and he keeps doing it over and over until he perfects it. He's really great that way."
Rachel Crawford also started ice skating with the learn-to-skate program, but she began at the age of 3, when her older brothers and sisters began lessons in order to not embarrass themselves at birthday parties at the skating rink.
"She got involved in it by just being stuck in the group," said her mother Debra. "She loved it and she was just like a little duck on the pond."
Crawford placed fourth at the regional meet to seal her spot at Nationals.
"She is great under pressure," said Karel. "She performs really well; sometimes she gets casual in practice, but when it comes to competition she is really mentally very strong."
Crawford, who attends Christian Heritage School, said she's been working on her double axel and her spins for the competition.
"I feel really excited 'cause it's the first time I've done it," she said. "And this year I have worked really hard on trying to make it. I'm very happy with myself."
Friess and Crawford also will be skating at the WFSC Winter Show on Dec. 4 at The Ice Sheet. The club is also hosting a lower level competition, the Wasatch Freedom Classic, this weekend that is free for all to attend.
For more information, visit www.wasatchfigureskating.org.