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Siblings to skate at world championships

October 25, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HALFWAY -- As Austin Shanz and his sister April glide across the roller rink, Austin lifts April into the air.

In another move, Austin spins April, demonstrating a skill they hope will catch the eyes of judges in a world competition in Freiberg, Germany, from Nov. 7 to 14.

Austin, 16, and April, 13, have been competing in what is known as artistic skating since Austin was 5 years old and April was 3.

In a national championship in August in Peoria, Ill., the Frederick, Md., duo placed second, securing them a spot in the world championships in Germany, according to family members.

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When asked what she thought about the upcoming world competition, April Shanz said: "Cool." Austin Shanz said it is going to be interesting seeing skaters from other countries and their styles.

"It's just going to be neat to see how everyone reacts to each other," Austin said.

To help Austin and April pay for their trip to Germany, a fundraiser was held Sunday afternoon at Turner's Skate Palace on Virginia Avenue.

Members of the Shanz family said it will cost at least $3,000 to send Austin and April to the world competition. Funds were to be raised Sunday through a silent auction of items like shirts, gift cards, show tickets and skating supplies.

Friends of the family skated around during the event, but they cleared the rink at one point so a news video could be shot of April and Austin.

The moves in artistic skating look like ice skating. There are regional, national and world competitions conducted through USA Roller Sports, said Holli Shanz, the mother of Austin and April. Skaters compete through skating clubs; Austin and April are affiliated with the Hagerstown Artistic Skating Club, family members said.

Austin and April used to skate at a rink in Rockville, Md., but when that rink closed, they began practicing at Turner's Skate Palace.

Several days a week, Austin, April and other family members travel to Turner's Skate Palace to practice for several hours.

Austin and April are fourth-generation skaters. Their mother and grandmother Kay Brown said the success of the two can be attributed to their interest in the sport and they're exposure to it.

"They stuck with it and made it their goal," Brown said.

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