SPOTLIGHT: Lake Villa teen is BMX star

By Kimberly Pohl

(Arlington Heights) Daily Herald

Published: Wednesday, March 14 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Felicia thinks she'll do well based on her only other Supercross race last fall. She made it to the semifinals and received a No. 3 seed, only to get tangled up in a nasty crash that took out half of the eight racers.

"I was so mad, but I learned that I could beat these girls," Felicia said. "It really got my confidence up."

Despite frequent practices at tracks in Hobart, Ind., Rockford and Waukegan, trips around the globe and a strict training and nutrition regimen, Felicia manages to make honor roll.

She also was a talented varsity athlete in volleyball, basketball and track before giving up those sports this year to focus on her pro BMX career.

"I'm 5-foot-8, so I'm not going to be an NCAA Division I athlete," Felicia said. "I miss sports sometimes, but I love riding my bike and need to devote my life to it."

Felicia's top focus right now is improving her "gates," or race starts. She's been able to overcome that weakness in the past with her speed and power on the rest of the roughly 1,500-foot track — but the pro races won't be as forgiving.

She's confident she'll get faster once she moves to a warmer climate that allows her to train year-round. She plans on going to college in California to be close to the Olympic training center, and taking the year off leading up to the 2016 games.

Until then, she'll balance training with her pre-med studies. She's fascinated with the human body — her numerous injuries and encounters with the medical community helped spark her interest — and wants to become a doctor.

"I don't want to be wondering what I'll do after BMX, so it's important that I do both," Felicia said.

Her coach says if anybody can do it, Felicia can.

"She's a different breed, and one of the coolest athletes I've ever worked with," Herrera said. "She's got some big aspirations, but she's so powerful and not afraid of anything, that it'll be fun to watch what she accomplishes."

Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com

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