Anonymous No More: Meet Battlefield Ice-Skating Star Sarah Everhardt

Everhardt medaled in the 2024 U.S. Figure Skaters Championships held in Columbus, Ohio

“At senior nationals, Sarah Everhardt finished third in the free skate competition with a total of 130.16 points. She was sixth in the short program with a score of 63.21 points.”

CREDIT: Melanie Heaney/U.S. Figure Skating
“At senior nationals, Sarah Everhardt finished third in the free skate competition with a total of 130.16 points. She was sixth in the short program with a score of 63.21 points.” CREDIT: Melanie Heaney/U.S. Figure Skating

Sarah Everhardt saw no reason to make a fuss about her first day back at Battlefield High School after a week-long absence.  

To the 17-year-old junior, Jan. 30 was another day to slip into English class and join 20 peers to work on her essay for the upcoming Standards of Learning test.

But Brandie Provenzano had a surprise in store.

Before discussing about that day’s assignment, Provenzano, Everhardt’s English teacher, directed her students’ attention to the Smart Board in front of the classroom. Displayed on the screen were two phrases, “Welcome Back, Sarah!” and “We have a celebrity among us!” around a photo of Everhardt smiling. 

The ever-humble Everhardt had politely demurred when Provenzano warned her in the hallway about the presentation. But to no avail. Provenzano forged ahead with her plan. She believed Everhardt deserved recognition for medaling four days earlier in her debut at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

Plus, this was breaking news. Like many others in the Haymarket community, Provenzano was just learning about Everhardt’s skating prowess. She had reached out to Everhardt on the first day of competition with a reminder to submit her revised essay. But Provenzano never heard back.

She soon discovered why when Battlefield principal DeLores Lucas sent an email to the whole school that day letting everyone know Everhardt was preparing for the biggest skate of her life. No longer in the dark, Provenzano broke from the schedule to highlight Everhardt’s fourth-place finish.

Everhardt remained humble through it all. She obliged when asked to provide context while her fellow students watched her performance but downplayed her accomplishment.

Everyone else, though, was amazed. The same Sarah Everhardt who minded her own business in class was the same one dazzling the crowd with a seemingly flawless performance that drew rave reviews before a national television audience? One and the same. Goodbye, anonymity. Hello, centerstage.

“I’ve taught 23 years and I’ve never seen a kid so unassuming and so laid back about something like that,” Provenzano said. “It was a huge deal.”

All in

Everhardt’s journey to this point began when her mother saw an ad for a learn-to-skate program at the Haymarket Iceplex.

It was time for a change. After introducing their only child to dance, gymnastics and swimming without success, Jonathan and Ekaterina Everhardt decided to try something new to keep Sarah busy.

Only 7 at the time, Everhardt loved skating. The opportunity to jump appealed to her. Plus, by her second day, Everhardt proudly exclaimed to her parents she had not fallen on the ice.

Everhardt has athletic genes. Her father grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., playing hockey, and her mother was a gymnast in Belarus. But Everhardt also had determination.

As she became more comfortable with ice skating, Everhardt sought more training. She tried synchronized skating but preferred to skate individually. Looking for somewhere to develop her passion, Everhardt, through word of mouth, ended up at SkateQuest in Reston at age 9.

She remained with her first two coaches until the summer of 2019 when Everhardt, seeking to take her skills to a new level, switched to Tatiana Malinina and Roman Skornyakov. The move provided an opportunity to learn from two excellent teachers who had a standout skater of their own. Malinina and Skornyakoy are the parents of current men’s world champion Ilia Malinin, a Vienna resident.

Everhardt’s work with Malinina and Skornyakoy paid off when she qualified for her first senior nationals after winning the gold medal at the Eastern Sectionals Singles Final in Coral Springs, Fla., in November.

Everhardt entered nationals as a relative unknown. Amber Glenn and defending U.S. champion Isabeau Levito were the bigger names during the two-day event. But Everhardt became a medal contender after placing sixth in the short program Jan. 25.

Sitting in the arena’s upper tier during the next night’s free skate, Jonathan and Ekaterina anxiously followed their daughter by swaying their bodies with every move Everhardt made on the ice. In the best performance of her life, she felt no pressure in totaling 193.37 points. Glenn won the title, while Josephine Lee finished second and Levito third.

After her free skate, Everhardt headed to the stands to meet her parents. They celebrated together, but it didn’t last long when it became apparent that Everhardt needed to return to the ice to receive her medal. Looking to make a splash at nationals, Everhardt had achieved her goal.

“I wanted to build a name so people would know, ‘That’s Sarah,’” she said.

But Everhardt also knows she has to keep pushing herself. As her father said, “The ice is slippery.” Everhardt has experienced setbacks, none bigger than when she missed seven weeks of training after suffering stress fractures in both her feet in fall 2022.

“The challenge for Sarah is to stay at this level and shoot for something better,” Jonathan said. “So it’s not a one-time thing.”

To keep improving, Everhardt spends most of her week at SkateQuest. During this school year, she takes two classes a day at Battlefield before heading to the rink either late morning or early afternoon, depending on when her classes finish. She stays at the rink until 5:30 p.m. and then does yoga or dance once or twice a week at Transform Power Yoga in Haymarket. This semester, Everhardt is also taking a virtual class.

On Saturday or Sunday, depending on available ice time, she’s at the rink all day. She’s off the other day.

By this point, Everhardt is accustomed to the demanding schedule and the tradeoffs. She’s old enough to drive but hasn’t had time to get her license. Her parents take her where she needs to go.  

Able to do their jobs virtually at times, Jonathan, a retired Marine Corps gunnery sergeant who is now a talent acquisition specialist for a government contractor, and Ekaterina, an IT program manager, make it all work. Battlefield also has helped accommodate Everhardt’s schedule, for which her parents are grateful.

There’s little down time as Everhardt looks to build on her success at senior nationals and eyes a possible shot at the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy. To prepare for the upcoming season, Everhardt spent spring break in California working with her choreographer, Nadezhda Kanaeva. By finishing in the top five at senior nationals, Everhardt automatically qualifies for next year’s event.

“We are very happy that Sarah was able to put [together] clean programs at this year’s U.S. Championships,” said Tatiana Malinina. “We are going to continue to work hard on improving all aspects of Sarah’s skating to make her a stronger skater.”

If there’s one person who inspires Everhardt’s commitment, it’s Malinin. On March 23, the 19-year-old broke the world record for the highest free skate score when he won the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal.

The two are good friends and talk regularly. After Everhardt placed fourth at nationals, Malinin was one of the first people to congratulate her. And the Everhardts stayed an extra day in Columbus to see Malinin win the U.S. senior men’s title.

Dubbed the “Quad God” for his ability to routinely stick jumps with four rotations in the air, Malinin has helped Everhardt expand her routine. He also models the dedication it takes to reach the highest levels, as well as how to handle increased attention from the media.  Everhardt wants to attend college and may consider George Mason University, which Malinin attends, because of the proximity to her training facility and her home.

“He’s a great example,” Everhardt said. “He helps to motivate me and calm me down.”

Ready for next time

At the start of this school year, Provenzano asked her students to write something about themselves on a 3-by-5 index card. She does this as a way to let them know how much she cares for them.

Neither she nor Everhardt remembers what Everhardt wrote. But both said she did not mention anything about ice skating. In retrospect, Provenzano joked with Everhardt that she could have included that bit of information on the card.

Provenzano had known Everhardt since the ninth grade when she first taught her. It never dawned on her why Everhardt missed class then. But now it made sense. Everhardt was away training for and competing in skating events. Mystery solved.

When Everhardt is gone again for an extended period of time, Provenzano will understand why and not worry when there’s no immediate reply about the status of a paper.

“I will know next time to not send a reminder,” Provenzano said.

But no in-class celebration after Everhardt turns in another stellar performance on the ice? Provenzano makes no promises. 

Dave Fawcett is sports editor of InsideNoVa. Reach him at dfawcett@insidenova.com.

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