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Kuemmel's Corner: Combined nordic and alpine skiing teams show support for all three schools

This week I had the opportunity to get out and support our alpine team, and if we ever get just a little more snow, I hope to see our Nordic skiers on the trails as well. There are many things that amaze me about these teams.

First of all, these teams compete under the name PWER, for Park, Woodbury, and East Ridge. Each school competes individually (even against the other schools), but the teams train together.

Our alpine and Nordic head coaches are actually the head coach of six different teams — the boys and girls from each of the three high schools. Not many coaches can say that.

These teams train and compete with each other so that the district can save resources in terms of coaches, practice space, buses, and other expenses. It takes a lot of coordination from our coaches and building staff to make sure the athletes from seven different schools (three high schools and four middle schools) get where they need to be.

When I go to these meets, I see Park athletes cheering their hardest for the Royals and the Raptors, and the other way around. Many people in the community talk about the rivalry that exists between our three high schools. You will never see it on the ski trails or hills.

As far as these student-athletes are concerned, even though they are actually competing against each other, they are all on the same team. The Nordic team has even purchased new uniforms that are the same for all three schools; they have "PWER" on them and the school colors from all three schools. These two sports are a great example of the benefits that are gained from having a large school district and collaboration between the schools.

I am also amazed at how well the student-athletes from these sports are able to deal with the weather. I am a "fair weather" fan in the literal sense of the phrase: if the temperature is above 32 degrees, I am always willing to go out and support these winter teams. But these athletes are out in the elements every single day, even when the temperatures reach zero degrees.

Finally, both of these teams are obviously very dependent on the weather (and snow), and in most years, our Nordic teams especially have to be very creative to find ways to ski when we have limited snow. If we have two feet or two inches of snow, they are always working to do their best despite the conditions.

Thank you to our coaching staffs for making our PWER teams more like a district 833 family. Good luck to these ski teams as they begin section competitions in the coming weeks.