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  • Sean Reilly

Ballet in Motion: Alaskan High Kick

The stage was set at the Colony Middle School Gym for the athletes to compete in the Alaskan High Kick. There were five different areas set up around the gymnasium, where athletes would turn their world upside down in an attempt to bring their foot in perfect contact with the ball. Each athlete has three chances to reach great heights and connect with that point in space where the tip of their foot meets and moves the dangling sphere.

As each competitor approached the playing field, they would walk up to the hanging ball, reach their hand upward to plot the trajectory. They would then sit on the wooden gym floor and poise themselves mentally, as they prepared for this magical dance. They went from a sitting position on the wooden floor to turning their body upside down with their foot fully extended, above their head.

This is truly a ballet of body and spirit thrust into the ether. Each athlete orchestrated their own original ballet of motion as they stretched their bodies beyond what they could do. It was sheer will power combined with careful choreography that propelled them to their point of contact.

If one of the athletes wasn't successful in making contact or sticking their landing correctly, one of their teammates or a member from another team would make a suggestion of how they could tweak their approach for a successful connection.

Everyone: athletes, coaches, the competition, family, and friends wanted each and every athlete to be successful and achieve their lofty goal of orchestrating the perfect moves to pull off their personal ballet. This competition really is just against themselves, not to beat their competitors but rather to improve their own game.

Here on this stage of sports, the Arctic Winter Games, there is a camaraderie that is seldom seen in other sport arenas. There is a burning desire in each of these athletes to help each other to be the very best that they can be. Over and over, you could see encouragement and support being hand delivered, in the trenches, by their fellow athletes. It is uplifting to witness the spirit in these Winter Games.

At the end of this day some athletes excelled more than others, in the Alaskan High Kick. Athletes born 2007 or later had these results. Lars Jeremiassen, from Team Greenland, took home the gold ulu for first place, with a high kick of 88 inches. In second place, Daniel Rodgers, from Team Alaska had a high kick of 82 inches which gave him a silver ulu and second place. Leif Richards, of Team Alaska, took third place with a kick of 80 inches.

In the "Open" category for Alaska High Kick, Parker Kenick, of Team Alaska, took home the gold ulu and first place, with a kick of 90 inches. Second place and a silver ulu, went to Colton Paul, of Team Alaska, with a high kick of 90 inches. Filling out the podium, Matthew Quinto, of Team Alaska, took home the bronze ulu and third place. It was a clean sweep by Team Alaska!

It truly was a grand day of a ballet of motion.


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