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Aarush Channapragada skates past limits

Amid+the+indoor+roller+skating+rink%2C+sophomore+Aarush+Channapragada+finds+his+rhythm+in+competition%2C+his+determination+evident+with+every+stride.
Riki Murase and Vidushi Upadhyay
Amid the indoor roller skating rink, sophomore Aarush Channapragada finds his rhythm in competition, his determination evident with every stride.

Amid the indoor roller skating rink, sophomore Aarush Channapragada finds his rhythm in competition, his determination evident with every stride. His skates glide effortlessly, propelling him forward as he focuses on the path ahead. Upon crossing the finish line, he realizes that his countless hours of hard work and perseverance were worth it.

Channapragada competes in roller speed skating, where competitors race around a 100-meter track, with each event requiring a certain number of laps — usually 10 laps for short distances and 15 laps for long distances. He learned to roller skate when he was around 7 years old and joined a speed skating team around two years ago because of his love for the sport.

Through competitive skating, Channapragada has discovered a new side of roller skating and thoroughly enjoys the speed he’s able to achieve. Skating for PacWest Speed Skating, he has won numerous medals in the regional level in California, having won two golds and two silvers in his primary event — the 500-meter. 

“The adrenaline rush from going fast is really awesome and makes me want to continue to skate faster,” Channapragada said. “Indoor speed skaters can reach speeds of up to 20-25 mph, which might not seem that fast, but on a 100-meter track with turns, it feels much faster.”

One of Channapragada’s biggest challenges is the mental aspect of racing, particularly the importance of getting a good start. He’s learned the significance of staying driven and never giving up.

“I often get nervous when starting the race in second or third place, pushing my hardest to become first in the first couple of laps and losing physical strength towards the end of the race,” Channapragada said. “I’ve realized that it’s crucial to be determined to push past my limits and have the mental strength to overcome the pain of the moment.”

To balance multiple sports, Channapragada dedicates time to speed skating training on the weekends while attending tennis practice on weekdays. His practice schedule consists of two hours of technique practice; a 30-minute warmup; and two hours of drills, relays or races, depending on the day. 

“I think the hardest part about playing multiple sports is having to sacrifice practice for school clubs and homework or vice versa,” Channapragada said. “Time management is definitely something I’ve had to get good at as an athlete.”

With a supportive and inspirational coach who goes above and beyond, Channapragada has had the opportunity to enjoy speed skating in competition.

“My coach is definitely a huge supporter, and she takes the time to help each person individually,” Channapragada said. “When there’s a meet that’s too far and my mom can’t drive me there, she always takes me with her and lets me stay with their family so I have a way to attend the meets and compete with my team.”

As a speed skater, Channapragada has come to appreciate the journey it takes to become an athlete.

“Speed skating has helped me become more competitive and has taught me to appreciate the work athletes put in to play sports,” Channapragada said. “Most importantly, it’s taught me to stay determined to achieve my goals and to not give up in the face of adversity.”

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Nicole Ge, Staffer
(she/her) Nicole is a senior and a returning staffer for the Epic. Outside of school, she enjoys playing basketball, watching YouTube, and taking naps.

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