Ennett skates to success, aims for Olympic Games

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Ennett skates to success, aims for Olympic Games

Story by Jacob Phillips, Online Editor

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Hot, tired and out of breath, East Meck senior Zach Ennett kept pushing himself around the rink trying to get past his opponents. It felt like he had been skating for hours, but Ennett kept his mind on the race, using everything he had to push himself to the finish line.

At just 10 years old Ennett was invited to join his first competitive speed skating team. Seven years later, at age 17, Ennett has found success at the regional and national levels in inline speed skating. 

Ennett was first introduced to inline speed skating when his mother paid for him to get skating lessons. While attending the class, Ennett caught the instructor’s attention.

“The coach of the lessons actually turned out to be the coach of a speed skating team, and since he saw I was the best in the class, he asked me to come skate for the team,” Ennett said.

Ennett has found much success while skating. This past summer he competed in the regional tournament where he qualified for nationals. 

“It was my first time at nationals and I qualified for the finals. I ended with a relay medal which was my greatest achievement,” Ennett said.

Success hasn’t always come easy for Ennett. Like many people who aspire to be great in a sport, Ennett has faced many failures.

“In one of my meets I had six races. I fell 7 times throughout,” Ennett said. “I fell in every race I was in, and in one race I fell twice.”

Ennett’s failure did not discourage him. His teammates motivated and encouraged him to improve. Skating with them is the reason Ennett wants to work hard and succeed so he can eventually work his way to the top, just like they did.

“My team consists of a lot of people who are on the U.S. world team,” Ennett said. “They help me with my confidence [in skating] and make meets so much better.”

Ennett’s bond with his teammates has extended beyond the rink.. They keep him in line, while making sure he lives up to his potential, but still have fun with him outside of practice sessions. 

“We are all really good friends,” Ennett said. “We train together, we hang out and we party together. It’s so much fun.

Ennett has gained recognition for his speed skating skills at multiple levels. Besides winning medals at the national level, Ennett has gained the attention of an Olympic speed skater as well. Clay Mull, who was born in Charlotte, competed in the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. 

“I went ice skating with my friends and there was a former ice-skating Olympian there,” Ennett said. “He said he was willing to help me out with a few practices.”

This proves to be a big opportunity for Ennett, as he wants to make the transition to speed skating on ice. The opportunity to train with an Olympian creates new possibilities to improve and work towards his goals of being on the U.S. national team and eventually becoming an Olympian himself.

Ennett has excelled in his sport but is also active outside of speedskating. He is a member of the school band, is a member of the Carolina Youth Coalition and is a part of Tri-M Music Honors Society, all while being a diligent student and working at Hawthorne’s Pizza.

Meanwhile, Ennett looks to continue to improve his speed skating skills so he can achieve his lofty future goals.  

“I know I need to keep working so I can break all my goals and make it on the national team and hopefully the Olympics,” Ennett said.