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They are wizards with jump ropes

Frederick group gives demonstration at Smithsburg Elementary School

Frederick group gives demonstration at Smithsburg Elementary School

February 02, 2009|By JANET HEIM

SMITHSBURG - It was a lesson in Double Dutch that captivated the students at Smithsburg Elementary School on Jan. 21.

The Skip Wizards, a competition and exhibition jump rope team of Frederick County students, showcased their skills during two assemblies at Smithsburg Elementary.

The assembly was organized by the school's PTA after learning about the group through a parent, said Principal Jennifer Scarberry Price. The Skip Wizards do exhibitions when Frederick County Schools are not in session, including the day they were in Smithsburg.

The Skip Wizards began 25 years ago as an after-school exercise program started by a physical education teacher at Valley Elementary School in Jefferson, Md., said Robin Harris, one of the team's four coaches.

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There are 38 team members this year, ranging from 6 years old to college age. About a dozen members do exhibition shows, an average of two per month, Harris said.

"I think it's really cool," said Julia Koterwas, 8, a second-grader at Smithsburg Elementary.

She said she jumps rope at home, but usually does solo jumping. The assembly sparked an interest in getting her best friend, Kaycie, and some of her other friends to try some of the tricks the Skip Wizards demonstrated.

Following a demonstration of jump rope skills, the Skip Wizards members got the crowd up and jumping. Several Smithsburg Elementary students looked as though they were ready to begin training with the team.

Harris said the team practices after school three times a week for two hours. The team has traveled to places such as Disney World, New Orleans, Knoxville, Tenn., and Detroit.

Nationals will be in Galveston, Texas. The team is affiliated with the U.S. Amateur Jump Rope Federation and the Amateur Athletic Union.

The goal of these school visits is to get other students interested in jump rope as exercise and sport, Harris said. Coach Kim Zimmerman said the team has helped her daughter, who is shy, build her self-esteem and confidence.

After watching the demonstration, Scarberry Price said she'd like to start a jumping rope club.

"They're amazing. It's exciting to see how in shape the girls are. It's good for the heart and the physical body," she said.

For more information about the Skip Wizards, go to www.skipwizards.com.

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