A day after Carpentersville's Bradie Tennell won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships women's title and a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, folks at the suburban rink where she trains celebrated Saturday.
"I'm so proud of her," said Geneva resident Derek Wagner, who skated with Tennell at the Twin Rinks Ice Pavilion in Buffalo Grove until he was sidelined by an injury. "She's put in so much hard work."
Tennell's performance Friday night at the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California, set her up for next month's Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She was officially named to the U.S. figure skating team Saturday morning, along with Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen.
"I don't think it's sunk in quite yet," Tennell, 19, said after her championship victory. "I'm still kind of shocked. It's indescribable to me."
Tennell has trained at Twin Rinks for about 10 years with coaches Denise Myers and Jeremy Allen. Tennell joins Gracie Gold and Jason Brown as Olympic figure skaters who trained at Twin Rinks.
But unlike Gold and Brown, Tennell hasn't left Twin Rinks for a higher-profile training site or different coaches.
Laura Kaplan, the stadium director at Twin Rinks, said she and the rest of the staff are thrilled about Tennell's success.
"It's amazing for the sport of figure skating in the Chicago area," Kaplan said. "It shows you can make it to the Olympics as a skater and you don't have to leave to do so."
On Saturday, a large paper banner near the concessions stand at Twin Rinks read "Congratulations Bradie." As the day wore on and news spread, people scrawled notes like "Skate great in the Olympics" on the white paper.
Deerfield figure skater Mirella Strieleman, who has trained with Tennell at Twin Rinks, said she was in "disbelief" Saturday about Tennell's Olympic status.
"You train with her every day, and you can't even imagine (she'll be) at the Olympics," Strieleman said. "It's such a great achievement."
Strieleman called Tennell's accomplishment inspiring.
"It gives you hope that, coming from the same place, you have the same opportunities to be successful," she said.
Daily Herald news services contributed to this report.