While McNicholas offers many different sports that students can participate in, some students find enjoyment in recreational and extreme sports outside of the fields and courts of McNicholas.
Junior Savannah Baurichter participates in horseback riding. Her mom got her started with her first horse when she was four years old. She competes in shows year round, but shows become more frequent in the summer, with more than one a month. In the shows, she starts with flatwork, which includes walking, trotting, and cantering. The second half of the show tests the participant’s groundwork skills in a course. There are cross rails and hurdles set up and the rider must choreograph a routine that leads the horse over each of the rails at least once. The highest jump Baurichter has ever gotten a horse to do is the three foot jump. “The hardest part is putting all of the time into it,” Baurichter said. “It takes a long time to choreograph and then to get the horse to cooperate and complete the choreography.”
Baurichter’s scariest moment was in sixth grade when a horse named Bloomer reared up and fell over backwards on her. “They brought out a stretcher because they thought I was dead,” Baurichter said. “I didn’t break anything, but I had to lay there for a little bit while my body was in shock.” Baurichter misses playing traditional team sports, but wouldn’t give up her one on one bond with her horses for anything.
Junior Jonathan Grant-Elam has been snowboarding for eight years. Snowboarding is a family tradition, and his family travels to Colorado or West Virginia for a snowboarding trip every year. He has perfected his 180s and does multiple rail stunts. The hardest trick he has ever done is a ride-switch, which required him to switch his leading foot on the snowboard while going down a hill. “It’s really important to have balance for snowboarding,” Elam said. “A snowboarder has to be confident and can’t be worried about getting hurt trying out new tricks and stunts. That’s the only way you learn.”
While Elam does not currently compete in snowboarding competitions, he hopes to one day compete. Until then, he is content snowboarding and working on his tricks at Perfect North and various slopes across the nation.
Senior Matt Dreyer has been participating in Martial Arts competitions for thirteen years. Competitions are in the spring and winter, but he takes classes at Maududo Federation year round. At competitions, martial arts students show off their skills and techniques against an opponent in hopes of the judges placing them first, second, or third. Some skills frequently judged are blocks, footwork and stances, and defensive throws. Dreyer took mixed martial arts classes once, but he had to take many safety precautions like wearing full body pads since it involves physical contact and is very dangerous. Now, he focuses on martial arts. “The hardest part is sticking with it,” Dreyer said. “I’m currently a 4th degree black belt. It took a lot of dedication, but I really want to work up to be a 9th degree black belt.”
Junior Conner Nelson enjoys water skiing. The main goal of this sport is to increase speed while still maneuvering around six buoys successfully. As the speed increases, the rope gets that the skier holds onto gets shorter, making it harder to hold on. The fastest Nelson has ever gone is 36 mph. “You have to be patient,” Nelson said. “It’s really easy to get frustrated when you fall off, but you have to get back up.” Nelson does not participate in competitions now but wants to in the future. Even without competitions, he is looking forward to getting back out on the water this summer to practice his maneuvering.
Junior Ann Rack enjoys quadding, or riding four wheelers. “My family has 72 acres of land and three quads,” Rack said. “I’ve been riding them at different campsites and all around our property since I was seven.” Rack’s favorite quadding memory was when her sister made a huge sand mound at their house and they rode over it as quickly as they could. The fastest Rack has ever gone is 43 mph. While Rack has had time to perfect her steering skills, she admits to having trouble on big hills. “If I hit a fallen tree branch while I’m going up a hill, I have to fight for control of the quad or I’ll tumble down the hill,” Rack said. Rack is passionate about quadding and can’t wait to ride her quads across different terrains over the summer.