Athletes bond over winter break trips

Nadia Spock, Staff writer

As students began preparing for the up and coming new year, many involved in various winter sports spent their winter break traveling with their teammates.

Both the men’s and women’s hockey teams participated in out-of-town tournaments. The men’s team finished in first place out of eight teams at their tournament in Eveleth, Minnesota. Taking the time to compete in other cities has proven to be beneficial, according to players. Junior Josh Huisken explained, “we are able to show that Minneapolis teams can compete with Suburban teams.” Senior Jack Kelly added that the win “gives Minneapolis a better name in hockey.”

While the men’s team achieved success during their trip, the women’s hockey team also won their winter break tournament in Austin, Minnesota. Freshman hockey player Lizzy Laakso says that the trip offered “a chance to play other teams [we] don’t usually get to play.” Joni Phiravanh, a junior on the team, also enjoys traveling as a team and said it helps “change up the pace.”

Over New Years Eve weekend, South’s nordic ski team headed up north and spent the holiday at Giants Ridge Ski Resort in Biwabik, Minnesota. “Getting ready to do longer skiing, and to build endurance,” is how junior Gabe Bethke described the purpose of the trip. Freshman Laura Turner explained that the goal of the trip was to not only train but also spend time together as a team. The team raced against rival Southwest while in Biwabik. They also competed against each other in races with distances as long as twenty-four kilometers.

Although the men’s swim team did not spend their overnight trip out on the snow or ice, they still got their fair share of competition. Despite not winning the meet, which took place in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, freshman swimmer Michael Diaz stated that the trip was more “a bonding experience.” Junior David Baldus feels that traveling helps the swimmers operate better as a team by building “trust and friendship.” Diaz, who is grateful for the time spent with the team, said, “You don’t get to talk much in the pool.”

As these athletes have chosen to devote their time to school sports, the bonding opportunities that are made available have proven to be popular, as well as the opportunity to establish new team relationships and strengthen sportsmanship. Turner describes that on New Years Eve the ski team went sledding down a ski hill in plastic trash bags. Where as the men’s hockey team went bowling and paid a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame. It has become custom, Baldus said, for the swimmers to participate in “team haircutting” while on overnight trips.

While these teams have each developed unique activities and traditions, they all share the fulfillment from spending time as a team.