PLEASANT PRAIRIE — It was an Olympic moment for young ice skaters at the RecPlex Ice Arena Saturday who got to meet a champion skater.
Ashley Wagner, the 2016 world silver medalist, three-time U.S. national champion and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, met with youngsters as part of a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, organized by Lucas Sports of Massachusetts and sponsored by the RecPlex’s Cutting Edge Figure Skating Club.
The skate club hoped to raise at least $10,000 for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin to send a 6-year-old Wauwatosa girl with leukemia to Disney World.
“We thought it would be a great opportunity for the skaters to meet an idol,” said Stephanie Shopp, skating club director. “We chose Make-A-Wish as most of the kids are under 12 and we wanted something they could feel connected to.”
‘Positive role model’
Chloe Lenz, 14, and her 10-year-old sister, Addie, did their part by becoming the top overall fundraisers, garnering nearly $7,000 via personal emails to friends, family and their father Joe Zons’ business contacts.
For their efforts, the girls had a personal meeting with Wagner and also got to sit next to their idol in a private dinner.
Chloe has been skating for seven years and said she admired Wagner’s attitude.
“She’s a very positive role model in all she does,” she said. “She has a positive attitude, and she’s a very nice person.”
Sister Addie, who’s been skating since age 3, said Wagner inspired her, and she was “very excited” to meet her.
“Ashley impresses me to try my best,” she said. “She always does her best at competitions.”
In their private meeting, 26-year-old Wagner was amazed when she heard how much money the girls had raised.
“That’s insane!” she said. “You guys are here because you raised a ridiculous amount of money. You should be car salesmen!”
The girls seemed to get on well with Wagner, who also autographed Addie’s bag and signed pictures for them.
But mom Deb Lenz said, “I think they’re star-struck to meet their idol. Addie said she couldn’t breathe or think.”
The event also included a skate-athon plus a photo session with Wagner.
Those who raised more than $250 got to do a meet and greet, plus an additional clinic, with Wagner, while the top 10 fundraisers attended a private dinner with her.
Top fundraisers greeted Wagner with flowers when she arrived, including Lillian Jungles, 11, of Joliet, Ill.; Tess McConville of Oak Park, Ill; Kenoshans Kerra Twigg, 9, and Cora Esser, 8; Kaitlin Santarelli, 8, of Bristol, plus the Lenz sisters.
“It’s cool for a lot of these girls to see Wagner,” said skating club president Angela Moreno. “She’s a very energetic skater. She’s a true athlete.”
On the ice
About 100 kids who raised $125 got to attend an ice skating clinic with Wagner.
Just seeing the award-winning skater was exciting for young fans. Kenoshan Miyanna Travis, 9, was happy about “just taking pictures. I like all the medals she’s won.”
Kenoshan Maya Moreno, 14, said she was thrilled to watch an Olympic athlete.
“I like her passion for skating and her positivity,” Moreno said.
Ten-year-old Quinn McCormick of Antioch, Ill., who’s been skating five years, said he admired Wagner’s medals and her style.
“This is really cool,” he said. “She’s a gold medalist. She’s got sass. She’s fun.”