NYO Zooms to new heights
The internet became the venue for 2021 NYO competition with young athletes from around the state competing via Zoom.
On Thursday and Friday, April 15 and 16, the event was the Alaska high kick and three Nome competitors were in the final. Other finalists performed in Juneau at Thunder Mountain, at Mt. Edgecumbe, and other locations, all live on Zoom.
“I think it’s really neat that we’re able to have a live student competition for folks to be able to watch and give the opportunity for the kids to show off their skillsets doing the games that they love,” said Nome coach and NYO veteran Vanessa Tahbone. “I’m happy that they’re able to set this up like this this year.”
Minnie Clark competed on Thursday, Paris Hebel and Parker Kenick on Friday.
Was it an advantage to each athlete that they were competing on their home turf, sleeping in their own bed the night before competition, and starting the day with a breakfast from mom? Traveling to the big city for a meet generally doesn’t have such supportive conditions. “I didn’t really think about it like that,” said Coach Tahbone. “But one of the really neat things about this is in virtual competition everybody on the team can compete in every event. At state you only have one male and one female in each event. As an example, for today we had two of our competitors qualify for this event. So we have two athletes who will be medaling in it.”
“We are using our own equipment, we are around folks we know, and it makes a different atmosphere for sure,” said Tahbone. But she pointed out that in an actual live competition there are a lot of forces working for the athletes as well. The crowd is a big motivator. There are other coaches and athletes who you talk to during the games. “I’m happy we’re able to have a few people here to watch,” she said.
“This is my favorite event,” said Paris Hebel. “Whenever I have any free time with a kickstand this is the one I’m up to doing. I’ll just set it at the starting height and I’ll just up it until I can’t go anymore.” Paris is a junior. He did NYO some on and off in elementary school. Once he hit junior high he’s done it every year.
The competition continues on Thursday and Friday of each week until the end of April.