Sweeney Turns Leisure into Competitive Lifestyle

FLYING+BY%3A+Melissa+Sweeney+%E2%80%9911+shreads+up+the+slopes+in+a++recent+CIAC+race.+She+has+been+a+top+performer+for+the++ski+team+since+her+arrival+at+Staples.+%7C+Photo+by+Barbra+Sweeney+

FLYING BY: Melissa Sweeney ’11 shreads up the slopes in a recent CIAC race. She has been a top performer for the ski team since her arrival at Staples. | Photo by Barbra Sweeney

Emily Kowal ’12
Web A&E EditorIt is possible that Melissa Sweeney ’11 spends more time on the ski slopes than at home.

Sweeney began skiing competitively when she was eight-years old with the Mount Southington ski team. After seven years, Sweeney switched over to the Thunder Ridge ski team.

When Sweeney entered high school, she was on the school team as well as the Thunder Ridge Ski team, which meant skiing every day except Fridays.

“Freshman and sophomore year, I didn’t have a social life,” said Sweeney.

Each week Sweeney spends up to 18 hours on the slopes.

With such a large time commitment she finds it difficult to fit in all of her schoolwork between ski team practices and races.

Sweeney figured out a plan for maintaining her academic workload while still fully participating on the ski team.

She finishes most of her long term homework assignments ahead of time.

However, the stress of school is unbearable at times and Sweeney still can’t seem to figure out how she survives through it all.

“School is already stressful, but when ski season comes, my stress level is overboard,” said Sweeney.

Sweeney’s commitment and dedication has paid off since she has been number one on the varsity team every season since freshman year. She loves the sport so much that it’s worth the time she puts in.

Other people also recognize her extraordinary devotion.

“[She is] the most committed kid I have ever had,” said head coach Tom Owen, “I can’t remember when she has missed a race or a practice.”

Owen feels that Sweeney is one of the most coachable athletes he has had in 30 years of coaching. He expressed that she works extraordinarily hard at achieving her goal and has an incredible work ethic.

Also helping Sweeney reach her goals is the solid support system provided by her family.

They have appeared at every race no matter where it happens to be.

A normal weekend includes leaving Saturday afternoon, waking up the next morning at 6:00 a.m. and skiing by 7:30 a.m.; sometimes if Sweeney leaves the morning of the race she has to wake up at 3:00 a.m. to make it to the race on time.

The most challenging aspect of the time commitment for Sweeney is waking up early.

While others sleep in on the weekends, she is waking up at dawn to race.

FLYING BY: Melissa Sweeney ’11 shreads up the slopes in a recent CIAC race. She has been a top performer for the ski team since her arrival at Staples. | Photo by Barbra Sweeney