Ava Ziegler, a 12-year-old from Dover, won U.S. Figure Skating’s Eastern Sectional Morristown Daily Record

Ava Ziegler believes she was skating “in my mom’s stomach” before she was born.

Her first complete sentence was “I do that,” pointing at the ice where her mom, Patricia Mansfield Ziegler, was coaching. At 15 months old, Ava asked, “Mama, ice skate?” and was given tiny skates to walk on the rug in their Dover home. Four months later, she transitioned to the ice with her mother at her side.

A coach for 25 years, Mansfield Ziegler competed at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit 20 years ago – alongside Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. Her 12-year-old daughter will follow her onto the ice at Detroit Skating Club on Friday to compete in the Juvenile Girls Free Skate.

Ryan Xie and partner Dalila DeLaura also will compete at nationals in Juvenile Pairs. Ryan turns 14 the day after they skate and said a gold medal would “be a great birthday present.”

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