The Tundra Drums - CAUYAT - The Beat of the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta

 
 

By Zachariah Bryan
Drums Editor 

Students defy gravity in Native Youth Olympics

 

Zachariah Bryan | The Tundra Drums

High school students compete in the eskimo stick pull in the Native Youth Olympics. The winner is decided by who can pull the stick out of the other's hands, or who pulls their opponent over them.

Who needs the Sochi Winter Olympics when you have the Native Youth Olympics right here in Bethel?

This past weekend, competitors from all over the Delta gathered for a regional meet at the Bethel Regional High School. They competed in traditional Native Alaskan games, such as the the toe kick, the one-foot kick, the wrist carry, the kneel jump, the Indian stick pull, the two-foot kick, the one-arm reach, the high kick and the seal hop.

While each attempt would be done in an instant, the suspense was palatable, particularly in the kicking events. A competitor would eye the ball hanging in the air, size up how high it was, take a few deep breaths, stretch out a bit, and go. Usually the difference between a successful kick and a failed one would be a matter of millimeters. There were more than a few falls, and more than a few loud exhales of exasperation.

While kicking a ball well above your height is hard enough with one foot, kicking it with both feet makes for the most grueling event in the NYO. Each competitor is allowed a running start, but at take off the feet must be no more than shoulder width apart and both feet must be parallel. Then, after clearly kicking the ball, the competitor must stick his landing with both feet at the same time, again with the feet no more than a shoulder width apart.

After a long drawn out competition, Unalaska's Steven Ugale took home the gold for the high school men's two-foot kick with a total height of 84 inches, or seven feet. Lucy Post took the gold for high school women's with 67 inches.

There will be another district meet this weekend at Kwethluk, April 10-12. Then, qualified students will head to the state competition in Anchorage April 24-25.

Winners for each category

Toe Kick

Jr. High Boys: Isaiah Nicholas, 52 inches

Jr. High Girls: Amber Kanuk, 51 inches

High School Boys: Steven Ugale

High School Girls: Haley O'Brien

One-Foot Kick

Jr. High Boys: John Bouker

Jr. High Girls: Madison Johnson

High School Boys: Steven Ugale

High School Girls: Lucy Post

Wrist Carry

Jr. High Boys: Justin Dye

Jr. High Girls: Sadie Tuckwood

High School Boys: Julian Jimmy

High School Girls: Leah Demientieff

Kneel Jump

Jr. High Boys: Isaiah Nicholas

Jr. High Girls: Avery Hoffman

High School Boys: Dylan Magnusen

High School Girls: Jordan Kassatok

Indian Stick Pull

Jr. High Boys: Aaron Rosen

Jr. High Girls: Jaylen John

High School Boys: Evan Dyment

High School Girls: Keylene Esnardo

Two-Foot Kick

Jr. High Boys: Merlin White

Jr. High Girls: Allison Lake

High School Boys: Steven Ugale

High School Girls: Lucy Post

One-Arm

Jr. High Boys: Isaiah Nicholas

Jr. High Girls: JoBeth Stuart

High School Boys: Moses Peter

High School Girls: Jocelyn Snyder

Alaskan High Kick

Jr. High Boys: Wassillie Alexie

Jr. High Girls: Sadie Tuckwood

High School Boys: Scott Charlie

High School Girls: Lucy Post

Zachariah Bryan | The Tundra Drums

The Alaskan high kick involves as much technique as it does athleticism. Starting from a sitting position, Lucy Post lifts herself up, essentially flips her body upside down and does a one-armed handstand as she kicks the ball above her. She won the high kick with a best of 73 inches.

Eskimo Stick Pull

Jr. High Boys: Ralphie Evalt

Jr. High Girls: Jaylen John

High School Boys: Dylan Magnusen

High School Girls: Jade Miller

Seal Hop

Jr. High Boys: Paul Albert

Jr. High Girls: Gladys Johnson

High School Boys: Jordan George

High School Girls: Lucy Post

 

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