Speed skating has taken Mill River Union High School senior Molly Turco to victories, awards and a national ranking. It is where she hopes it will take her that is even more exciting.
Turco has a plan. Her future is mapped out and speed skating is a part of the itinerary.
The talented short track racer wants to branch out more into long track competition and go to college far from home where that avenue is open to her, either in Milwaukee or the Salt Lake City area.
But there was a time when the sport was no part of any plan. She tried speed skating for a year and stepped away.
“I wasn’t having any fun,” she said.
Then, she began watching the 2010 Olympics on TV and an interest in the sport was rekindled.
She went back to training under the eye of Green Mountain Speedskating Club coach Dave Manfredi and her rise in the sport has been meteoric. This season she earned a No. 8 national age group ranking in St. Louis in the overall competition and got to the finals in the 800 and 1500 meters.
This year she has a goal of making a splash at the American Cup for short track racing.
“That is more of an elite level and that is crucial to her development,” Manfredi said.
It all began with figure skating. Then, there was hockey. Neither really worked out.
But the second time around with speed skating Turco found her passion.
She even changed high schools to be closer to the ice at Spartan Arena. The Ira resident moved over to Mill River from Proctor High School after the ninth grade.
“She always had good technique to begin with,” Manfredi said. “Then, the second time at it, the development was just rapid.
“I think getting so much better was self-motivating.”
She was named the Most Improved Skater of the Year, beating out a national champion and others high in the national pecking order for that award. A plaque with her name on it will forever honor that accomplishment in Lake Placid, N.Y.
“I have received a lot of positive feedback from other coaches about her,” Manfredi said.
She is committed to the sport in a way that few athletes are. She uses the earnings from her job at the Tinmouth Snack Bar to help fund her training and trips and receives help from her family.
She will be competing in a meet soon in Salt Lake City and the excursion will double as a college visit to Utah, Utah State and Westminster College in Salt lake City. Marquette University in Milwaukee is also on her list.
It is necessary for her to go to school in that part of the country to have access to Olympic sized venues for long track skating.
Manfredi said making the U.S. National Team is a lofty goal.
“It is not going to be a gimme, but she has come a long ways,” he said.
She is thinking of elementary school teaching as a possible course of study and, who knows, if she gravitates toward the teaching profession, coaching might be in the offing.
“She is a natural at coaching,” Manfredi said.
This summer it’s plenty of training. You might see her doing inline skating on the Creek Road or Middle Road in Clarendon or you are apt to see her undergoing physical training at the Rutland High’s Alumni Field, either on the track, bleachers or the side hill.
It’s all for the goal of doing well in competition and staying on a path to college.
Thankfully, it was fun the second time around.
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