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Not just skating by

For Nisky 12-year-old and her sister, skating is a family affair

Between morning skating practices twice a week, gym workouts twice a week, and after-school practices, it's no wonder why Olivia Serafini is among five other skaters from the North Atlantic region who will be competing in the U.S. Figure Skating Junior Nationals Dec. 14 to 19.

I'm nervous, but not as nervous as regionals, said Serafini. "I'm just happy I made it."

Serafini finished fifth overall in the Intermediate Ladies Division at the 2010 North Atlantic Regional Figure Skating Championships held Oct. 16 to 20 in Hackensack, N.J., to qualify for the Junior Nationals competition in Strongsville, Ohio.

Skating since the age of 3 alongside older sister Helen Serafini in "learn-to-skate" programs, Olivia, now 12, has been competitively figure skating since second grade, according to her mother Annie Serafini.

"I was hoping I would [make Junior Nationals]. I knew that there were some great skaters so I knew that I had the potential," said Olivia.

A student at Van Antwerp Middle School in Niskayuna, she has set herself apart from the other students as one of the only competitive figure skaters in upstate New York and one of only three skaters from the area who competed at the regional event in New Jersey.

"I'm happy for her," said her sister, Helen, on her sister's accomplishment. "It was really exciting when she made it. You have to overcome your nerves. I don't think Olivia has as many nerves as I do. She makes it look easy and loose."

Helen also competed at the regional event in Hackensack, but did not qualify for Junior Nationals after being seeded in a tough group during the event. Helen will be moving up to the novice level next season after finishing her second year in intermediates.

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