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Skate Today

Mroz Mines Silver at U.S. Nationals

Brandon Mroz

Brandon Mroz took his second straight silver medal at U.S. Nationals in 2007, reaching the podium in junior men. In 2006, Mroz took silver in novice men. But he missed Nationals in 2005 and only finished seventh in novice in 2004. He was 11th in intermediate in 2003 and 18th in juvenile in 2002. His success started when he moved from St. Louis, Missouri to Colorado Springs, Colorado in the summer of 2005 to train with Tom Zakrajsek.

“I moved mostly because of Tom and Tom Dickson,” Mroz said, “but I’ve also had a lot of help from the other coaches like Becky Calvin and Damon Allen. The high altitude training program has increased the intensity of my training. When I skate at sea level, I just fly through my programs.” Mroz trains at the World Ice Arena where he skates three to four 45-minute sessions on ice, five days a week and two sessions on Saturday.

The 16-year-old already has a boxful of international medals: gold from the 2004 Copenhagen Trophy, the 2006 Triglav Trophy, and the 2006 Chinese Taipei Cup and silver from the 2006 Mexico Cup and 2006 ISU Junior Grand Prix Final. “My goal for last season was to make it to the JGP Final, avoid having to do Regionals and Sectionals, and be successful at Nationals so I could get to Junior Worlds.” He accomplished those goals, ending the season by finishing fourth at the World Juniors in Oberstdorf, Germany, but second in the free skate.

Mroz comes from a skating family and began skating when he was three. His mother was a synchro skater while his father was a hockey player. “I started with hockey skates,” he said. “My Dad had all of us kids skate. I learned to play hockey for a few years, but I didn’t like the penalty box. I was a defenseman so if anyone had the puck I was after them. I was pretty rough on the kids in hockey. When I was six or seven, I switched over to figure skating because I got more ice time.”

He landed his first triple jump, a salchow, by the time he was ten or eleven and had all his triples by the age of 12. “The triple loop was the only tough one,” he recalled. Mroz was practicing triple axels by the age of 15 and is now working on a quadruple toe loop. He does the combinations jumps in his long program – triple lutz-triple toe, triple loop-triple toe-double loop, and triple flip-double toe, all of which he has moved to the second half of his program to gain additional points.”I can do a triple toe on the end of any of the triples,” he noted.

Tom Dickson choreographed his programs for 2006-07. He used “Improviso” by Nino Rota for the short and a jazzy version of Ernesto Lecuona’s “Malaguena” by Stan Kenton for the long. “Both of the programs are new,” Mroz said. “I usually change both programs every year. Tom found the music and told me it would be perfect for me. I really enjoyed skating to opera for my short. Next season, I’m hoping to have a jazzy short program and a long program using something with an orchestra. Mroz skates to Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” for his exhibition program, which was choreographed by Damon Allen.

Of his off ice musical interests, Mroz said, “I’m an all-around guy. I don’t have any favorite band. I listen to a lot of rap and guitar music. I play the guitar on and off but I’d love to have the time to really get into it.” He tries to be a normal teenager off the ice, hanging out with his buddies, going to movies and playing video games. “I like adventure movies, magic, science fiction and fantasy,” he said. “When I was novice in 2005-06, I did a program to The Incredibles.” He also likes wakeboarding and snow skiing. Mroz used to have lots of animals as pets, but now has only one dog, a shih tsu named Wags. When he was younger, Mroz raced in the soap box derby and finished first in the Pinewood Derby Car Race in 2002.

Mroz will be a junior at Cheyenne Mountain High School next season. Among the subjects he has enjoyed studying are mathematics and anatomy. “Anatomy is kind of cool,” he said. “I’d like to go to college and get into the medical field, maybe as a dentist.” As a student, Mroz won the DARE Essay Contest in 2002.

For 2007-08, Mroz plans to compete in seniors and hopes to get Grand Prix assignments. Eventually he hopes to go to the Worlds and Olympics, and then do some shows and tours.

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