PORT RICHEY — Riley Hansen is only 5, but he's already working on a remarkable comeback.
Riley competes in the Tiny Tot Division of competitive speed skating. In April 2009, right off the starting line, Riley fell and broke his left tibia. The local tyke made a full recovery after five months, and with the help of his parents, friends and teammates on Fastest Skaters Around, he trained hard to come back strong.
He has consistently placed first and second in speed skating events this season. And at the Southern Region In-Line Speed Skating Championships this weekend at the Spinnations Skating Center, he could qualify for the national championships.
Nearly 200 skaters are scheduled to compete at the championships. More than 150 races, including relays, will be held Saturday and Sunday as skaters compete for a placement that will qualify them for the U.S. Championships in Lincoln, Neb.
Fourteen clubs will be represented from the seven-state region, including the rink's new home team, Fastest Skaters Around. The local team features Riley and other skaters such as Justin Gill, 15, of Port Richey, a second-year skater who is focused on winning the regionals and moving on to the nationals.
The sport, which is known for family participation, has drawn new FSA team members Pedro Grau and his 10-year-old daughter, Katana, of New Port Richey.
Other new additions to the team include Andrew Franek, Brenden Sorrentino, Jacob Cote, Kara Peters and Zack Langham, all of whom have competed well as beginner skaters this year.