Jacey Albaugh finished her freestyle program to an excited cheer from the audience. High, effortless jumps, fast, centered spins – everything was perfect. I caught up with her in the lobby after her event was over, and we had a talk. Big brown eyes, a perky ponytail, the cute juvenile-level skater appears small and delicate. That is when looks can be deceptive. Jacey Albaugh is tough beyond her years, and she is very determined. In addition to being an accomplished skater, Jacey goes to school full time and she also rides horses competitively. On weekends, Jacey spends a lot of time with Trixie, her female pony. Weekdays are all about skating. Jacey skates six times a week for four or five hours daily.
Jacey just passed her juvenile freestyle test, and she is working on senior moves in the field – an impressive achievement for an eleven-year-old. Tracey can already do all double jumps except the double axel. There probably is a connection between Jacey’s love for horses and her excitement about doing multi-revolution jumps on ice. In the future, the girl would like to become a professional rider. Professional riders do show jumps, some of which are six feet high and five-and-a-half feet wide. Perhaps, when you learn to fly that high, trying to stay on a horse’s back, doing a double on ice appears far less scary.
“I do like jumping,” Jacey says with a smile. “My favorite jump is the double flip. I don’t like the double lutz that much though. And I really don’t care about spinning.”
A skater’s life is extremely demanding, even when you are young. Jacey competes seven times a year. Naturally, skating in front of a panel of judges is quite a nerve-wrecking experience.
“No problem,” Jacey says. “When I have butterflies in my stomach, my coach always tells me to turn them into lions. It always works.”
Jacey has an older sister, who skates at the novice level. As busy as she is, Jacey still finds time to hang out with friends. She is now in the sixth grade, and her favorite subject is science.
It’s probably too early for Jacey to decide what exactly she wants to do with her life. But I have no doubt that she will be successful in everything she tries. So all the best to you, charming skater and rider!