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Native Youth Olympic athletes from Valdez shine at state meet in Anchorage

Teams from Valdez High and Gilson Middle School represented our community


Photo courtesy Barb Lyons/VHS

Athletes that participate in NYO must be in tip top physical condition. Athletes that participate in NYO must be in tip top physical condition.

The Valdez Native Youth Olympics teams went to Anchorage last weekend to compete in the State NYO Meet at the Alaska Airlines Center.

NYO athletes from Valdez returned with two personal bests and strong showings from its seniors. Despite coming close to the medal stand, Robert Huston, who coaches the middle school team, though both teams overall performed well.

"I thought the team performed pretty well. We had some personal bests. We had some kids who I thought gave some really good efforts," Huston said. "Had a couple of kids who we thought were close to getting to the medal stand. So, that was nice to see. Overall the kids behaved well and I thought they gave great efforts."

Senior Quentin Cox and Chevon Oxford closed out their Native Youth Olympics careers with leading performances. Oxford finished with a personal best 60" kick in the Alaska High Kick, a 70" kick in the One-Foot High Kick, a 53'3" hop in the Seal Hop and a top-ten finish in the One-Hand Reach. Cox turned in a top ten performance in the Eskimo Stick Pull and finished the Seal Hop with 53'3" hop. Isaac Clubb had two-top ten finishes in the Wrist Carry at a personal best 292'5"and Alaska High Kick at 78".

Huston commended the seniors for their leadership throughout the season.

"They did a great job. Super, super nice kids. Both of those kids are great role models," Huston said. "I coach the junior high team and they were great role models for those younger kids to follow and I appreciate their efforts."

In other high school results, Dakota Brown finished the Kneel Jump at 35 ½" and Two-Foot Kick at 82". Evan Alexander had a 30'9" jump in the Scissor Broad Jump. On the girls' sided, Cora Kagak had jumps of 20" and 19'8" in the Kneel Jump and Scissor Broad Jump, respectively. Caitlin Mond had kicks of 54" and 70". Faith Gray participated in the Eskimo Stick Pull and the Indian Stick Pull. Rick Colapietro competed in the Indian Stick Pull.

Photo courtesy Barb Lyons/VHS

Valdez athletes representing our schools and town during the Native Youth Olympics in Anchorage.

On the middle school team, Anthony Kelley competed in four events for the weekend. He finished the Wrist Carry at 105'1, a 24'1" jump in the Scissor Broad Jump, and 8' hop in the Seal Hop, and competed in the Indian Stick Pull. Ambrosia Woodgate, Lucy Selanoff, and Sierra Lesniak each competed in two events. Woodgate finished the Wrist Carry at 98' and the One-Foot High Kick at 58". Selanoff had a 48" kick in the Alaska High Kick and 56' hop in the Seal Hop. Lesniak had a 22 ¼ jump in the Kneel Jump and competed to the Indian Stick Pull. Conner Moore had a 30" jump in the Kneel Jump. Brandon Nguyen finished the Alaska High Kick at 58". Lydia Robart had a 21'5" jump in the Scissor Broad Jump. Zoe Brown jumped to 50" in the Two-Foot High Kick. Tate Chadwick reached 80" in the One-Foot High Kick. Tim Schantz and JoJo Ferguson competed in the Eskimo Stick Pull.

The teams hope to build from this season's success by recruiting and retaining more members. Over the last several seasons, NYO had struggled with numbers. This year, the team has 11 athletes from high school and 12 athletes from middle school.


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