TOWN 'N COUNTRY
He bursts off the line ferociously and by the time Quentin Ferrer rounds the second turn, he has hit a speed few 8-year-olds are capable of on a pair of inline skates. Or on a bike, for that matter.
The Ferrer family lives in New Port Richey, but drives to Skateworld in Town 'N Country a few times a week for the coaching of nationally renowned inline speed skating coach Renee Hildebrand. It paid off last month when Quentin won three events at the national championship held in Peoria, Ill.
"He broke the record and then broke his own record in the finals of two different races," said Fred Ferrer, Quentin's father. "People couldn't believe he was only 8. Some of them wanted the paperwork checked. In competitions around the state, he races one age group up from his normal one, that's how fast he is."
According to his coaches, Quentin's success has a lot to do with his work ethic — though that's not the only thing separating him from the average youth speed skater.
"Part of it is his natural athletic ability," said Hildebrand, who has been a coach for 26 years. "The biggest thing is that he has a ton of energy, but for as hyper as he is, he can actually focus. A lot of times when you have a kid his age with that much energy, it's tough to get him to channel it into one thing, but he does."
Just two years ago, Quentin was at a Spinnations in New Port Richey when someone noticed how fast he was going and recommended to his parents he take up speed skating. Since that day, he has been dedicated to the sport.
"I was at Spinnations up by where I live when this lady said I was fast," Quentin said. "My dad said I could do what I wanted and I chose skating because I'm fast and I like to win."
What the family didn't know at the time was how big an undertaking speed skating was going to become.
"In some ways it's more of a luxury than a sport," Quentin's mother, Angie Ferrer, said. "The skates alone cost $1,400. It's incredibly expensive and then there is all the traveling, so it's not an easy thing to take on. But it's something he loves to do. We don't have to push him to do it."
Looking at the future, Quentin's coaches believe he could go on to big things with skating. Whether or not the sport can maintain his interest is another matter.
"The last kid I had with this much talent became a world champion," Hildebrand said. "He's not normal. At nationals, there was only one other kid in his age group that was even close to him. It's tough to keep a kid motivated, but if he stays in it and can keep winning, he'll be really good."
Submit feedback, story ideas to email@example.com.