Justin Hergett has spent most of his life wearing skates. And now the Florence High School senior wants to make a career on the ice. The KPAX Athlete of the Week just added an impressive line to his resume.
Hergett finished in first place at the U.S. Figure Skating Association National Showcase Competition. He competed in four different events in Michigan, but claimed the title in Light Entertainment, which Hergett explains is, “trying to get the judges to laugh.”
And Hergett had everybody smiling after nailing a performance that he threw together in a rush.
“We put together the program and finished the program about a week before we left for nationals,” Hergett said about the prep work done with his coach. “So it was still a little rickety in my opinion. But it looked good. I was definitely worried going out on the ice. But once I was done I was like, ‘Wow. That was probably one of the best times I’ve ever performed it.’ And I was really proud of myself for doing that way.”
Hergett’s performance mimicked a traditional ice dancing routine, only his partner was a life-size doll. And although comedy doesn’t come naturally for him, he made quite an impression.
“It’s not necessarily my personality,” he admitted. “I like doing more dramatic performances most of the time. But it was definitely good to hear the judges and hear all of the people laughing. And I didn’t really care about the placement, neither did my coach, because the crowd was so responsive. So many people came up to us after the program and said, ‘Good job,’ and said it was the funniest thing they had seen yet.”
Hergett also took second place in the interpretive category, which he called one of the most stressful things he’s ever done. Skaters listen to an unknown musical selection and then have a half-hour to come up with a program to match the music.
Hergett plans to finish his high school degree online next semester and then get a job as a professional in an ice-skating show. He said his dream job would be to join the new Cirque du Soleil performance on ice.