The Okemos Ski Team Is Not Like Other High School Sports
OKEMOS - At Okemos High School there are some sports, like the cross country and track team, that have a lot of athletes on their team. But the Okemos Ski team only has 20 people, and for that reason OHS junior Nick Balesky loves participating in that sport.
“Cross country and track is way or people 200 kids,” said Balesky, who has been skiing since four but started ski racing his freshman year. “With [the] ski team it's only 20 of us, and you can get to know your teammates better.”
The Okemos ski team have been participating for many years and has constantly excelled as a program. But due to the sport being different than other high school sports it tends to be overlooked.
“It’s a sport that's not really like any other sport in high school,” said Jeff David, who is the head coach of the team. “The fact that the only time around the campus is during our preseason dryland training and all of competition and practice are away from the school.”
Even though the program has been really successful throughout it’s tenure in the school’s athletic program, the sport is not all about racing. It is also about the relationships formed between the athletes.
Due to the 40 minute bus ride to their practice facility, the athletes are able to develop genuine friendships with people they would normally not talk to.
“My team is filled with alot of cool people,” said senior Mattie Hartle, who has been skiing with her family since she was young. “It's fun because I typically wouldn't be friends with these people but we were thrown into this I realized everyone has their own little thing that they bring and everyone is funny and I love it.”
Since the start of the season the student-athletes on the team were able to bond with each other and improved on their racing and understanding of the sport.
“It's been great to see them grow,” said David. “We have a host a freshmen athletes who have grown tremendously. From not knowing what this sports is all about to understanding this is what they need to do. I seen some of the upperclassmen really recognizing what the younger kids are going through and helping them along. Also their competitive spirit is picking up.”