Young Sparta skaters make their mark nationally

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    SPARTA - Roller hockey talent seems to run in the family for the Hennesseys of Sparta. Two of Pat and Amy Hennessey's sons, 11-year-old Brian and 8-year-old Robbie, were asked to try out for the Junior Olympics Roller Hockey Team. Only 45 children nationwide were invited to the competition, which was held last month in Detroit. Although both boys place in the top tier at the tryouts, they did not make the national team. This hasn't discouraged the Hennesseys. "It was a great and exciting experience to try out for the U.S. team," explained Brian. "I couldn't believe I was asked to go.  Currently, both boys are playing with the Sparta Roller Hockey Team in Morristown. In addition, both boys have recently earned a position on the travel ice hockey team at Skylands Ice World in Stockholm. Brian, who is in the fifth grade and attends Mohawk Avenue School, has been skating for the past six years, four of them as a member of a team. He was asked to try for the 12-year-old and under Junior Olympic Roller Hockey Team. His brother, Robbie, who is in the second grade at Alpine Elementary School, has been on a skating team for three years. He was asked to compete in the 10-and-under Jr. Olympic Roller Hockey Team. "The best part of the whole thing was seeing my old friends, Garrett, Bradley and Nick. The coaches had cool drills which were different from my normal routine. The whole experience was really fun," said Robbie.  The Hennesseys' talents were discovered while playing in a tournament in Ohio. Last December the Hennessey's received a letter in the mail notifying them their sons were selected for the unique opportunity to compete for the Junior Olympic Team. "I am very excited for them and very proud, said their mother, Amy. "It has been an honor to be invited to compete for the team." Before they left for the competition, she advised the boys: "Do your best, spend some time with a really great coach. If you don't make it, the experience was fun, you learned a lot." Brian said he learned a lot from the coaches at the tryout. "This year I plan to attend two tournaments, one in Cleveland, Ohio, and the other in St. Louis, Missouri.  I know these coaches will be there and will be looking out for me for next year's tryouts," he said. "I was only 11 this year, trying out with an older group of boys and I made it in the top 13 out of the 45 who were asked to attend."