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Skater brings home 4th consecutive title

 
 

by Jan-Mikael Patterson - The Navajo Times

 
 

credits: photo: Misha Yellowman Averill recently earned her fourth speed skating title while competing at the Indoor Northwest Regional Champioships in Portland. She will now compete at the Indoor National Championships in Lincoln, Neb. on July 20-25 in the 12-to-13 years age group. A resident of Puyallup, Wash., Misha is the daughter of Richard and Bebbie Yellowman Averill, who hail originally from Blanding, Utah. (Courtesy photo)

 

Misha Yellowman Averill recently earned her fourth speed skating title while competing at the Indoor Northwest Regional Champioships in Portland. She will now compete at the Indoor National Championships in Lincoln, Neb. on July 20-25 in the 12-to-13 years age group. A resident of Puyallup, Wash., Misha is the daughter of Richard and Bebbie Yellowman Averill, who hail originally from Blanding, Utah. (Courtesy photo) WINDOW ROCK - Misha Yellowman Averill, 13, set a milestone in her speed skating career this past weekend at the Indoor Northwest Regional Championships in Portland, Ore.

Averill won first place in the 12- to 13-year-old girls' competition, her fourth consecutive title. She plans to compete in the Indoor National Championships in Lincoln, Neb. July 20-25.

Averill is Tl'aashchí'í (Red Cheek People) born for Japanese. Her chei is Tódích'íi'nii (Bitter Water Clan) and her nali is Bilagáana. Her parents are Bebbie Yellowman Averill, originally of Blanding, Utah, and Richard Earl Averill. She has one older sister and a younger brother.

"There were seven other girls in the competition," she said in a telephone interview Monday. She said first, second and third place winners get to compete at nationals in three different races - the 300 meters, 500 meters and 1,000 meters.

Averill found the sport interesting when she tried speed skating for her own enjoyment. Four years ago she decided to take the sport seriously when she found out there were competitions.

"I got into the sport myself," she said. "My mom and dad didn't do anything like this."

Similar to speed skating on ice in the Olympics, she uses in-line skates.

Averill trains seven days a week with a one-mile run, running up and down stairs and off-track dry land exercise, which is standing in one place as if skating but stretching to condition the muscles. She said it helps with form and position as you're skating which is necessary because to increase speed she needs to crouch low.

Recently she competed in the Outdoor National Road Competition in Colorado Springs, Colo. She won two silver medals and one bronze medal.

She won the silver medals for the 300-meter and 200-meter time trials.

The bronze was for the 500-meter sprint race.

However, the 200-meter time trial was a disappointment for Averill.

"It was kind of a bummer because I raced the girl before and I beat her," she said. The first place winner's time was 21:078 seconds and she clocked in at 21:094 seconds.

Winning her fourth consecutive regional title erased her disappointment and now she is training for nationals.

One of her goals is to earn a spot on the Junior World Olympic Team for outdoor speed skating and compete in Italy at the world championships.

Her hobbies include playing the trumpet, drawing and dancing jingle or fancy shawl at powwows. She will be entering the eighth grade at Kalles Junior High School in Puyallup, Wash., her hometown, this fall.

Averill said being a straight-A student was hard to do because when she competes she takes about a week off school. Catching up with her classmates was difficult but she managed produce high marks on her report card.

Participation in competitions is becoming difficult to finance. To compete at nationals Averill is seeking sponsorship and donations to pay for traveling expenses, equipment and registration fees.

"It's an individual sport which means it's a self-supporting sport," she said.

Her parents continue to support her goals.

"It's very exciting," Bebbie Yellowman Averill said. "It's a lot of work and it's very expensive. We do appreciate any kind of donation or support.

We support her 110 percent."

Averill's biggest goal is to have the Olympics include in-line speed skating and to win a gold medal.

Donations can be sent to: Bebbie Yellowman Averill, 506 2nd Ave NE, Puyallup, WA 98372.

wINDOW rOCK , az mAP

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