Dream big, chase the dream, try to grab it.
Those are the phrases that describe Chysta Rands.
Chrysta Rands grew up in Donora, Pennsylvania, a small town in western PA that was hit devastatingly hard by the decline of the steel industry. However, Donora, PA is finding a way to reinvent itself with the emergence of the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry. Like Donora, Chrysta is also finding a way to reinvent herself from an inline skater to a speed skater on ice. In 2010, Chrysta Rands first began inline speed skating. Recently, she has left her wheels behind to take a chance on the ice in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Chrysta started skating because of her dad. Chrysta admired her father, a man who put his life on the line every day as a local police officer. She considers him one of her best friends. Chrysta’s dad knew she wasn’t really happy with cheer-leading, dancing, and twirling activities. She was a dare-devil at heart and found a passion for speed at the local skating rink, Valley Skate. He had a conversation with the local coach about Chrysta’s passion for skating. They reached an agreement, and Chrysta joined the local team.
Chrysta had a distinguished career as an in-line skater. She earned multiple national medals, with her biggest achievement of making the USA Junior World Team in 2015.
Chrysta raised money to provide the funds for her to travel to Kaohsiung, Taiwan for the competition. The local community rallied behind Chrysta and gave her the ability to live “the dream“. She competed in her very first international competition in the following events:
- 15k Track
- Track Relay
- 10k Road Points
- Road Marathon
Unfortunately, the world of in-line skating doesn’t have a huge notoriety or following, and Chrysta knew she needed to re-invent herself.
As a result, she broadened her horizons to include ice speed skating. With the possibility of the Olympic Games, there was hope for a future on the ice. After a push from some close friends, the nod of her father, and a boyfriend who said “go for it”, Chrysta decided to give ice a shot.
Chrysta recently packed up her belonging, put her education on hold, and headed off to train at the Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City. She is grateful for the support provided by Great Lakes Cycle and Skate.
Chrysta said “I was pretty hesitant at first to do it, but I really just do not want to have any regrets when I look back. I don’t want to look back and say ‘I wish I tried it’. Unfortunately, this means putting the other dream of becoming a nurse and grad school on hold. So as of now, I plan on getting a general associates in science, to continue some education while training and working.”
Just like Donora, PA, Chrysta is going through a transformation. Cocoa Elite looks forward to following her progress, and we are proud to feature her as part of our “In the Spotlight” series.