Journeys School Strongly Represented on Champion Ski Teams
Led by charismatic Coach Walter Berling, the Jackson Hole High School Nordic ski team recently finished another incredibly successful season. The boys placed first while the girls placed second behind Natrona in the state meet recently held at Trail Creek in Jackson Hole. Journeys School students have historically been very active Nordic participants and this year was no exception. Journeys School students participating this year include: Tessa Landale, Charlotte Pierce, Melissa Slaughter, Megom Wangchuk, Noura Abdelghany, Marena Salerno-Collins, and Timmy Watters.
Nordic skiing is nothing new to veterans Tessa, Charlotte, Melissa, and Timmy who have many years of skiing experience between them and were raised in the Jackson Hole ski culture. Years of training has paid off as Tessa and Charlotte both performed well enough to receive All-State honors this year, while Melissa and Timmy are primed to do the same next year. On the other hand, competitive Nordic skiing was completely new for Noura, Megom, and Marena, none of whom grew up in the valley. They were drawn to skiing by the encouragement of friends, family, and even host families in the case of Noura, originally from Egypt, and Megom, from Bhutan. Taking the plunge to get involved was also eased by the willingness of Coach Walter Berling to take on the very greenest skiers. Referring to her improvement over the season, Megom said, “At the beginning it was a challenge to stand up right, but now it’s become easier and I can actually get somewhere.”
Journeys High School students participate in athletics at an impressive rate of over 55%, with Nordic skiing accounting for the largest share of the pie. When asked why Journeys School students are so enticed by Nordic skiing, junior veteran Tessa responded, “It is because of the strength of the community, the friendships, and the camaraderie. Our team is unique in that we are like one large family, all ages and abilities included. Whether you are a new skier from Egypt or an experienced skier who has been skiing since first grade, there is a shared compassion for the team and the sport.”
There appears to be no shortage of Nordic athletes coming through the ranks at Journeys School. Chris Watters, Michelle Slaughter, and Ryan Levy are all experienced competitors in the middle school and several students participate in the elementary grades as well. It appears high participation rates and continued success are secure for the foreseeable future.
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