Learning to ride a bike is a common childhood ritual. Most kids ride recreationally around the neighborhood and leave it at that. However, a few turn it into a sport. Bjorn Larson, a sophomore at Duluth East High School, has been cycling competitively for the past three years. "I've been cycling ever since I can remember. It was a way for me to get around town with friends," Larson said. Larson cycles with Northstar Development Cycling.
For senior athletes about to graduate, ending their last season with a state championship is a common goal. For Jordyn Spry, a senior at Marshall, that dream came true. After a lot of hard work, the Duluth Marshall Dance Team placed first at the Class A Minnesota State High School Jazz Dance Competition on Feb. 13. "This year was a lot of hard work, but we came out on top as state champions," Spry said. "Winning state was the greatest feeling in the world and it was so great that I could experience it with my best friends.
Austin Burley is a captain of not one, not two, but three sports. Burley is a Denfeld senior and captain of Nordic skiing, track and rowing. "It wasn't until my freshman year of high school, when I started skiing, that I actually became a student athlete other than skateboarding, if you count that," Burley said. "After skiing, I joined track because all of my friends that I had made in skiing also did track.
Hannah Johnson, a senior at East High School, is not your average teen athlete. She has recently achieved a huge milestone in her basketball career, 1,000 points. Johnson reached the marker in a home game on Jan. 17. "When it happened it was really overwhelming," Johnson said. "It was on a free throw, so it was a lot of pressure and there were a lot of fans there.
Small children toddling around on ice skates is not an uncommon sight in hockey-crazed Duluth. However, 16-year-old Marissa Jensen grew up on a different kind of skates. Jensen has been skating for three-fourths of her life. "When I was 4, my mom signed me up for Learn to Skate with the Duluth Figure Skating Club (DFSC) for classes," Jensen said. "Of course, I fell a lot my first time, but I loved it ever since that first day." After practicing in the group classes for a few years, Jensen got serious about skating and moved on to private lessons.
Pernille Soderlind, 16, a Duluthian who is also a native of Norway, represents her homeland in one of the best ways possible: Nordic skiing. "I started skiing when I was probably a year and half old," Soderlind said. "My mom put me on skis. It's a super-big thing in my family." Soderlind was born in Bergen, Norway and moved with her family to the U.S. in 1999 when she was just 1 year old.
For most high school students, sports are just something fun to do. However, for teen Emma Spooner, soccer is a lifestyle that has brought her around the globe. Last spring Spooner traveled to London to train with the West Ham Academy Club for two weeks. She was selected from the Duluth camp, made it through to the national camp and was finally selected for the International Academy team. "It was definitely my favorite soccer experience, just because it was soccer every day all day," Spooner said.
Karen Boynton has dabbled in many activities, such as soccer, track, basketball, theater, rowing and tennis. The self-proclaimed "theater kid" has been rowing for the past two years and is now taking on the new challenge of tennis. As the Denfeld tennis team doesn't have many players, they were recruiting for new teammates and Boynton decided to sign up. "The team's really accepting," Boynton said.
The classic American road trip story: a family loads up their minivan, hitches up the trusty pop-up camper, and heads off into the sunset to enjoy being obnoxious tourists in the big city. This summer my family partook in a vacation quite similar to the above description. The objective of our trip was to visit various members of my mother's extended family on the East Coast. With relatives in rural Massachusetts, New York City and Long Island, we had quite the journey ahead of us. First stop: Ashfield, Mass.
The smell of popcorn and cupcakes filled the air as teens from across the city mingled, looked at art and enjoyed performances by young musicians. Monday, Aug. 18 marked Youth for Duluth's first "Plaza P-ART-Y," a celebration of local teen talent at the Duluth Public Library. "I feel like Youth For Duluth is building a stronger bond between youth in every area," said Henri LaLiberte, 16.