VIDEO: Skateboarding to victory

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jesse Frohwein has been skateboarding for more than half of his life.

And yes, he has gotten pretty good.

The 14-year-old from Austin won a regional skating competition this past weekend in Golden Valley, Minn. — the first competition the young skater had ever entered.

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Frohwein topped 34 other skaters from across Minnesota in the beginners’ group at the seventh annual Midwest Melee contest, held by the 3rd Lair Skatepark.

“I thought, ‘Hey, this is a perfect opportunity,’” Frohwein said of seeing the contest posted on the skatepark’s Web site. “The competition was fun.”

The soon-to-be Austin High School freshman got into skating about 8 or 9 years ago, when the sport was exploding on TV through the “X Games” and in video games like “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.”

Frohwein hasn’t slowed down since.

“I’m just a skater,” he said Tuesday at the skatepark in Austin. “Everyday (I’m) coming down here.”

This summer, Frohwein pushed himself even harder in preparation for last weekend’s contest.

He said one of the great things about skating is that when you push yourself, there’s almost always a new move you can learn.

“Skating is infinite,” he said. “You can learn one trick and turn it into another.”

He had just enough tricks to edge out a 13-year-old from Plymouth, Minn., and a 15-year-old from Rochester in a very close beginners’ final.

In all, the Midwest Melee brought out 122 skaters across three skill groups. Entrants ranged in age from 7 to 25 and came from six different states, including as far away as Arizona.

3rd Lair owner Mark Muller said the openness of the tournament is one of its best features.

He said there were no restrictions on who entered or where they came from.

“We invited everyone,” Muller said. “That’s one of the great things about boarding — age is pretty irrelevant.”

Since the Midwest Melee started in 2003, Muller said he’s seen it grow from a 20 or 30 person tournament to something much more popular.

“We wanted to have one, big contest at the end of the summer,” Muller said.

Muller said he saw Frohwein skate and was quite impressed.

“I thought that he did excellent,” Muller said. “He deserved to win.”

And Muller thinks Frohwein has a chance to do even better at the contest in coming years.

“If he kept skating, he could easily make finals at intermediate,” Muller said.

Frohwein said he plans to keep skating. Right now, he’s looking at possibly entering more contests, including one this coming weekend in Mason City, Iowa.

Frohwein said support from his family is helping him with his hobby.

This includes his mom, who takes him to skate in Rochester, his grandma, who recently bought him some new wheels, and his dad, who took him to the Midwest Melee.

Darren Frohwein said it’s a “group effort” to help his son get to where he wants to go.

“He’s good at what he does when he puts his mind to it,” Darren Frohwein said. “I’m really proud of him.”

Jesse Frohwein’s plan is to go to college after high school, though he said he’d consider looking into professional skating if the opportunity was right.

At the very least, look for him to keep going to the skatepark for fun.

“I need to strive to get better,” Jesse Frohwein said. “Learning a new trick, landing a new trick perfect, it’s great.”