November: the Month of FUN!
While we celebrate and uphold JHSC's five core values all year long, from November to March, we focus on one each month and honor athletes who exemplify that value for their team and the Club with the Value of the Month Award. November is the month of FUN, and we see our student-athletes having fun in so many ways, from taking on the challenges and seeing the reward of dryland training to enjoying other cultures and places, making new friends and finding new experiences at Fall Camps.
There was no lack of fun had by the athletes featured below in their mountain-biking seasons (a bit more Type 2 Fun, at times, I gather); for the camaraderie and shared commitment one experiences, there is no match for the fun to be had on a team.
JHSC Spotlight: Composite Biking and the Composite Sport Life
This month’s Athlete Spotlight is more of a composite story than a single spotlight—and, perhaps, fittingly so, as many parts of it are about composite cycling.
This year, many JHSC student-athletes (and coaches, families, and supporters!) participated in mountain biking leagues and competitions. At JHSC, we are firm believers in the benefit of multi-sport participation, and of late, we have almost as large a slice of JHSC participants from some age groups involved in mountain biking as soccer, lacrosse, or cross-country running, among other popular local sports.
The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) was founded in 2009; since then, local- and state-level organizations, such as the Idaho Interscholastic Cycling League (IICL), in which many JHSC athletes compete, have been created to host team practices, summer camps, and race series for cross-country mountain biking—a challenging sport in which athletes must ride up and down mountains and across rugged terrain.
Mountain biking on a team has a lot in common with skiing or snowboarding on a JHSC team: in both situations, what might be labeled an “individual” sport is truly a group experience. Of course, at a fundamental level, we at JHSC believe that no one does it alone—without the support of coaches, family, friends, and others who are a part of the sport journey. When you participate with a team, riding and training are more fun, and in cycling and snow sports, one can improve their skills in a supportive, enjoyable team environment where team members set both individual and team goals and work collaboratively to attain these goals.
At a JHSC Coaches’ Clinic last week, Nordic Teewinot head coach Libby Hall highlighted how NICA really builds a team on a strong foundation of sportsmanship and inclusivity similar to what we aim for at JHSC: “One of the coolest things about NICA is the way that members celebrate and congratulate one another on their accomplishments: at the end of each session, the participants circle up and encourage one another, noting accomplishments from the day/week.”
This IICL season was a stellar one for many of our athletes, and I found out the way I do so many things at the Club: by several athletes, coaches, and/or parents asking me “did you hear how well so-and-so did at the last NICA race?”—people giving shout outs and celebrating others, one of many examples of our athletes’ humility amidst GREAT successes. Even in soliciting comments or photos for this story, I know I am missing many participants, so kudos to all of you on a grueling season!
Here is a VERY incomplete list of participants and some takeaways and reflections on the season from several of them:
Anna Baxter: Junior Nordic
Will Baxter: Nordic Prep
Owen Strand: Freeski Competition
Tosh Carr: Freeski Progression Plus
Ryan Murphy: Junior Nordic, Mini Mountaineers
Micah Weenig: Junior Nordic (his dad, Andy, was involved, too!)
Olin Hugo: Junior Nordic
Waylon Beck: Junior Nordic, Mini Mountaineers
Waylon, already a multi-sport athlete at JHSC, finished 19th in state in his first season!
Whit Hall, a former JHSC Alpine athlete competing this season with the Junior Nordic team, rode with JH Composite this summer/fall and really loved it. He shared “Mountain biking is straight-up fun, from the community to the sport itself. It makes me happy! I had a great season with lots of improvement and friends.”
Evalyn Wogoman, a member of the Alpine FIS program, enthusiastically shared about her positive experience in NICA racing this season: “Mountain biking was so fun and it was cool to meet so many new people. One of the things that really stood out to me was the way that girls and boys competed together, and there was no feeling or sense that a girl couldn’t compete with the pack, just because she was a girl. I really enjoyed that challenge and positive feeling about the league.”
Jackson and Peter Mayer, both members of the JHSC Nordic Program, enjoyed racing this season. Jack shared that “I think NICA is a really fun community-building, competitive, supportive, and a great program. I love going to the races and camping altogether. The support from NICA is tremendous and everyone cheers each other on as part of the team. I will continue this program as long as I can and keep coming back to it all year long. It is excellent to practice with others and become a better biker in every practice. NICA is the Best.” His brother, Peter, really embraced that blend of challenge and fun with teammates: "I really like NICA, especially the races since you get to hang out with your friends. It's challenging, but really fun."
Another person you might see cycling up and down Snow King Avenue on her way out for a ride is Alpine Program Director, Kristin Waddle. Waddle loves to ride and participates in many forms of cycling: road, mountain, and gravel races. “Cycling has brought me so much joy over the years! It is an excellent way to explore and get outside, especially in the place we live. It is a unique sport in the way you can choose to do it solo or with a group. Cycling is incredibly beneficial for snow sport athletes in many ways: the endurance aspect builds strength in body and mind, and it brings a pure adrenaline rush! Seeing more and more young athletes out on the trails and enjoying life on two wheels is truly amazing. Keep it up JHSC athletes!”
With some of the consistently strongest results, Nordic Program athletes Kaya Kandolin, Jack Mayer, Charlie Von Maur-Newcomb, and Colton Petsch had outstanding seasons and were on the podium multiple times while many others from Jackson posted great top 10 finishes!
Colton Petsch wore the red “leader’s jersey” for almost the entire season instead of the team jersey—quite an accomplishment! He won both the Idaho State Championship for Freshmen boys and the “series points” championship.
As Jen Baxter, mother of two Nordic Program athletes summed up, “It was amazing to see these kids put themselves out there each week and push each other to do really hard things. The NICA races have a very similar feel to Nordic races. Everyone is enjoying the beautiful surroundings while cheering on the individuals and teams.”
That’s the commitment and sportsmamnship we’re all about at JHSC, and we’re excited to see our student-athletes exemplify those values in their other endeavors. Way to go, and on to the Winter season!
All photos: Wayne Petsch
To learn more:
Read a more complete list of all participants from the JHSC Nordic Program in the program’s October Newsletter.
Learn more about the Idaho Interscholastic Cycling League (IICL) and how to get involved HERE.
Learn more about JHSC Multi-Sport Winter options HERE.
Alumni Spotlight: Jenny Karns
How old were you when you joined JHSC?
5th grade/age 10 Little Waxers/Intermountain Alpine
How long were you a part of JHSC?
3 years Jr. High ski racing, 10-20 years PPP, 10 years Margarita Cup & Town Downhill, 7 years coaching NGS . . . and currently on the Hall of Fame Committee. 40 years total
In three sentences or less, explain your entire experience with the club.
I was an alpine ski racer in the Intermountain program and did well. From competing in different events as a child and adult, supporting fundraisers like the Ski Ball, to coaching my own children as Next Generation Skiers, I grew up in the Ski Club. I enjoyed ski racing in the 1980s and even beat Picabo Street a couple times and won. However, I ended up racing for the high school ski team in 9th-12th grade and was State Champion my Junior and Senior years.
If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I loved ski racing, but I would say I was not as serious or as dedicated as I could have been while in the ski club. I wanted to enjoy school and a social life, but ski racing took a lot of hard work, time off from school and dedication. I don't regret the way I did things, but I probably could have been really good if I had pushed myself and had more self discipline.
What was the most fun part of being with the club?
Traveling to different ski resorts such as Sun Valley and Park City and making friends in other places. I also truly enjoy the exhilaration of skiing fast!
What do you do now?
Clinical Massage Therapist and owner property management
How does your experience with JHSC affect you today, if at all?
I have been involved in athletics, skiing, outdoors, coaching, physical therapy, and mind/body work all my life. What I do today is connected to my early experience in the ski club with both my family and ski community. It’s what we do!
What skills did you learn while competing that apply to life outside of the club?
To be committed to a difficult sport and a group of elite athletes that strive hard to win and be the best, but also happy for others to do well while learning from my own mistakes and failures.
What is your all-time favorite memory of JHSC?
When I won my first race at age 12 and beat Picabo Street, among others. I used to stay at her little cabin in Hailey, ID, while my other teammates stayed at other huge houses when we raced in Sun Valley. In those days, families hosted each other. We also drove to races in “Stretch”, the long old station wagon/limo type car.