Athletes work hard, practice over break


Catherine Braman

junior goaltender david nicholson practices at Drake Arena on Dec 8. “I am perfectly okay with practice over winter break and in fact, I really like it,” Nicholson said.

At the conclusion of first semester finals, many students will breathe a huge sigh of relief and settle into the long, relaxing break until the second semester starts in Jan. 6. For the winter athletes at St. Paul Academy and Summit School, there is no time off from practicing, training, and competing in their sports.

The reaction from athletes about not having some rest and relaxation is generally positive. “I am perfectly okay with practice over winter break and in fact, I really like it,” junior hockey player David Nicholson said.

For senior Julia Hansen, captain of the alpine ski team, the opportunity to ski over the winter break is not a sacrifice at all; it is a lot of fun. “I think our coaches expect all of us to ski over break. Because we are all on ski team and because we love skiing,” Hansen said.

“[The alpine ski team] will have some practices while we are away [from school] because we have a lot of good snow in December and the beginning of January,” Hansen said.

The girls varsity basketball team has a more relaxed nature about practice and training over break. “Our coaches are usually pretty good, not scheduling too many practices around the holidays,” senior captain Katie Ademite said. The squad is small and with some families traveling over break, there are only games scheduled at the beginning and end of the break.

The bottom line is “if you are in town, you are expected to be at practice,” Ademite said. The Ademite family has a couple of student athletes in the house. “We don’t travel over break which is fine. I wouldn’t want to take too much time off from training.”

Since athletes do not have to worry about academic commitments over the break, they tend to have more time to focus on their particular sport. In fact, it can be a prime time for practice and improvement. Hansen added that “we all want to get better, so we are all going to be at Buck Hill, Wild Mountain, Afton Alps at some point over the break to ski.”

Hockey is a year round sport for Nicholson and his family has adapted to his schedule especially around the holidays. “I have been playing hockey since I was very young so we never really traveled during the winter vacation anyway,” Nicholson said. He highlighted that it is important for the team to continue playing together without a break so the players can maintain a high level of intensity that the team needs to be competitive.

Skiing over break does not affect the Hansen family schedule. “Everyone in my family skis, so it is pretty easy,” Hansen said. Sometimes her family will take a trip and go skiing over the winter break. “For example, we have gone to Lutsen [near Duluth] in past years and we ski a lot when we are there,” Hansen said. Whether she skis with teammates, her family, or alone, Hansen loves to be on the slopes.
The boys varsity hockey team, they will be traveling to Duluth over break to play in a tournament on Dec. 29-31. The alpine ski team will compete at Wild Mountain on Dec. 19.