When Arianna Concepcion was 4 years old, she drew a card for her parents with a family portrait on the front. Little Arianna had a hockey stick and skates in the drawing.
Now 14, Arianna, of Dracut, took the bronze medal in the Intermediate Ladies division of the 2018 US Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif., on Sunday. There were 12 competitors in the division, which was won by Indi Cha of Revere.
Debbie Concepcion, Arianna’s mother, said she insisted on attending her first skating classes wearing a hockey helmet. But soon, her focus would change from hockey to figure skating.
“When I went to public skate, some of the skating coaches would spin the little kids around, and I realized I wanted to do something like that,” Arianna said.
A few years ago, Arianna started training at the Colonial Figure Skating Club in Boxborough. She upped her skating time from once or twice a week to more intense daily training. For the past year, Arianna has been working with coach Genevieve Coulombe of SkateKostin International for over a year.
“Arianna comes to the rink every day and knows what to expect from us,” Coulombe said. “She’s always ready for everything.”
Cuolombe described SkateKostin’s training techqniques as “Russian-style.” Their skaters have an intricately scheduled program of group classes and off-ice training, like ballet and cardio. But Cuolombe and the rest of the SkateKostin staff is also there for support.
“There was one time this week that she was a bit nervous,” Cuolombe said. “We told her, basically, you made it. For you, it’s about making your personal best. Whatever comes out of it, whether she gets a medal or 10th place, this season has been the best of her life.”
This structure has carried into all aspects of Arianna’s life. She operates like clockwork, going to school at the Academy of Notre Dame in Tyngsborough, doing her homework, and heading to the rink for a few hours on weeknights and Saturdays. Arianna, the youngest of four sisters, relies on her parents, Debbie and Felix Concepcion, and grandparents, Marsha and Elcio Cancado, to get her to the rink in Boxborough, which is about half an hour away from her house.
“It takes a village,” Debbie said.
When she’s not focused on skating or schoolwork, Arianna enjoys relaxing with art. She takes classes and uses her free periods to paint and draw.
But right now, is all about focus. On Friday, she’ll compete in the short program to the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack. And on Saturday, she’ll do a longer one to a Charlie Chaplin medley. Arianna is hoping that regardless of where she ends up on the rankings, she gets the attention of people who could decide her next steps in the sport.
“My goal is to be on the Team USA A-team, the team they send to international competition,” Arianna said. “This competition can make Team USA want to look at me, and think of adding me in the future.”