Valdez athletes wow the crowd at statewide competition
Last year, Marian Wamsley was only an inch away from being in the record books after competing in the Native Youth Olympics (NYO). This year, the Valdez High School freshman made sure she left her footprint in history.
Wamsley set a world record of 92 inches in the one-toe high kick event Sunday in front of an excited crowd at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage.
The previous mark was 91 inches, which was tied by Alice Strick of the Mat-Su Team at last year’s event. Wamsley placed second last year with 90 inches.
Wamsley had been slated to compete in this year’s Arctic Games in Whitehorse, but was unable to compete at the time because she was playing basketball for the Lady Buccaneers.
“When basketball was over, she said, ‘Mr. Morrison, my goal is to break the world record,’” NYO coach Rod Morrison said. “The head announcer at one point said maybe we ought to move Marian to the boys’ side because she’s kicking so high.”
Morrison believes the 5 foot, 10 inch Freshman has an opportunity to hold on to the record for next few years.
“If she refines her technique, she’ll be able to add another 4 or 5 inches easily,” Morrison said.
Wamsley also took first in the Eskimo stick pull. Gilson Junior High School’s Mesa Rohrer was right behind her in second place. Mike McCain gave Valdez its third first place finish by winning the Indian stick pull.
Valdez also turned in several top ten finishes at NYO. Nick Devens placed seventh in the toe kick. Others include Justin Johns and Ryan Montgomery in the wrist-carry, Jess John in the one-foot high kick, Shoney Ridderbush in the two-foot high kick, and Katie Evenoff in the seal hop.
The team continued its tradition of good sportsmanship at NYO and for the sixth time in seven years was rewarded with the Gloria Walker Sportsmanship Award.
“A lot of that has (to do) with having our kids in the finals and cheering other kids on and helping out,” Morrison said. “Winning that award is more important to me than any other awards.”
Valdez finished in the top ten out of 50 schools at the event.