The Lexington siblings scored no. 1 US youth figure skating team in the nation | Irmo


Luciano Chen and Lauren Ji with their trainer, Elena Cockerell, in Boston. Photos courtesy of Max Chen

Luciano Chen and Lauren Ji have been figure skating for almost half of their lives. Years of dedication to the sport recently paid off when 13 and 11-year-old sibling duo from Lexington discovered they had the highest score in the juvenile pairs category at the US Figure Skating Championships. .

The siblings traveled to Boston with their parents and coaches for the competition in November. According to their coaches Elena and Mark Cockerell, the setup for the championships was different this year due to COVID. Normally, skaters participate in a regional competition with winners advancing to sections and winners attending national championships. However, the setup for 2021 has increased to six competitions across the country. The winners were chosen by the highest score in all six contests. Now that they have all been in competition, Luciano and Lauren’s score for their pair routine remained the highest in their division.

Although they were happy to receive the highest score, Lauren and Luciano did not stop to rejoice or rejoice in their victory.

“We felt good because we won, but I think we could have done better,” said Luciano.

Her sister agreed and said she knew the bar would continue to be high as they advanced. “It’s a good feeling when you win, but I feel like it’s going to get harder later because right now it’s COVID. But later it won’t be COVID anymore, so it will be more. more competitors and it will be harder to win So I think we should work harder, ”she said.


Luciano said he was happy, but surprised to have placed the highest. However, the sibling couple’s trainer Elena Cockerell said she wasn’t surprised.

“I work for results. I have to deliver champions,” she said. “They’re getting better, they’re getting stronger, so it’s a better performance.”

The brother and sister are members of the Palmetto Skate Club, which practices in Irmo at Flight Adventure Park (formerly The Plex). They devote at least 10 hours per week to their training. Lauren and Luciano’s father, Max Chen, said he was grateful to their coaches and proud of their accomplishment.

“My wife and I are supporting them by doing this pair skating. It has helped them better understand teamwork,” he said. “They are very good at handling pressure and it is a great skill to have for their life.”

Not only have they developed impressive skating skills, both siblings said they really enjoy being a member of the skating club. Lauren said they made new friends and Luciano described it as a “really nice club” where everyone can join.


Lauren and Luciano during their practice at Flight Adventure Park

The next big performance for Lauren and Luciano will be in the Palmetto Skate Club Christmas Show on December 11 at 4:30 p.m. The performance will incorporate all club members and is open to the public. Tickets cost $ 7 online and $ 10 at the door.

“People can come and bring their kids, and if their kids want to get involved, they can sign up for our learn to skate program,” said Mark Cockerell.

Additional information on Palmetto Skate Club can be found on the organization’s website. Flight Adventure Park is located at 1019 Broad Stone Rd.


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