Martin wins with hard work, class

Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2000

Homer High School's Ida Martin won't be taking an afternoon to clear out some space at home for this year's championship hardware any time soon.

"Actually, I've got to go clean my skis," the Mariner junior said on her way out the door after receiving awards as the top individual skier, the region's female skier of the year and as part of the championship team at this year's Region III Cross-Country Skiing Championships this past weekend at Homer's McNeil Canyon Trails.

There's no slowing down for Martin, a junior at Homer High School, in the near future. Following next weekend's State Championships at Kincaid Park in Anchorage, Martin will begin preparations for the Junior Olympic competition to take place in Jackson, N.H., in March.

After that, Martin will have a little bit of time to catch her breath before starting on her summer training regimen of running, swimming and cycling. She's competed in the Gold Nugget Triathlon in Anchorage, good cross-training to keep her in shape for the ski season.

And then it's back on the trails, first as a member of the Mariners' cross country running team and then, when the snow comes, with the cross-country skiing team.

"It's a year-round job," said Ida's father Larry Martin, himself a two-time Olympian in cross-country skiing. "It's not that she has to spend eight hours a day on it, but she has to think about it a lot of the time.

"It's good to see her put all that energy into it and have it pay off."

Ida cleaned up at last weekend's region meet -- "Martinized" the rest of the field, you might say -- taking first in the five-kilometer classical race and fourth in the 7.5-kilometer freestyle race to finish with a combined time of 47:17.2, 32.6 seconds ahead of her closest competitor.

Though she's the last one to mention it, Martin has always been on the fast track with cross-country skiing.

She was out on the trails before she could walk, riding along on her father's back as an infant. She started competing in seventh grade, and found success right out of the gate.

"She went off to her first ski race -- it was in Soldotna," said Ida's mother, Linda. "Larry picked her up from the bus and brought her home. She told us all about the race, and everything else that happened, and then she said, 'By the way, guess who won?'"

When she's not training, Ida spends her summers working at the family business, Lakeshore Glass. Martin doesn't spend her time behind the desk answering phones -- she's out in the shop, cutting and fitting windshields and windows.

"She likes to work with the guys. She doesn't mind getting dirty," Larry said. "The other day, three guys wanted to go kayaking out on the harbor. Who did they call up to go with them? Ida."

Larry has gotten more involved with the Mariners skiing team over the past three years, passing on his knowledge. While he's thrilled with his daughter's success, he's also cautious not to be overwhelming or overbearing.

"I'm trying really hard not to push. I'm trying to encourage her, and give her all the help I can without pushing," Larry said.

Ida takes the same approach with her own teammates. Homer freshman Lauren Migdal was thrilled with her finish in the Region III junior varsity race, and attributed her performance to Ida's mentoring.

"I like to help," Martin said. "I don't want to push (my ideas) on them, but when they come and ask, I'm more than willing to help out."

There are some things best learned through personal experience, anyway.

"When she was 3, Larry got frustrated because she couldn't sidestep," Linda said. "She figured it out on her own when she was 4."

Still, quality time between father and daughter has been special.

"It's fun to be able to go out skiing with him now," Ida said.

"It's fun to see," Linda said. "They both look in the same direction. They spend hours waxing their skis in the shop together."

Martin's coaches and teammates also love having her around. Just about everyone wearing Mariners gold and blue gave her a hug on the way out after Saturday's awards ceremony, as did quite a few of her opponents. She got a big hug from Mariner coach Mickey Todd, and more than a few compliments from Homer High School administrators.

"She is extraordinarily nice, and sincere," said Homer principal Richard Patton. "We couldn't have had a better winner."

"They don't come any better than Ida Martin," said Harry Rasmussen, Homer's athletic director and Martin's cross country running coach.

Martin said she earns A's and B's in her academic classes at Homer High School. She enjoys the sciences and the creative arts, particularly pottery and ceramics, and would like to study sports medicine once she gets to college.

"I'd like to be an athletic trainer or a physical therapist," Martin said. "I just want to be involved in sports. I read about it, and it sounded like something I would enjoy doing."

Martin also is the secretary for Homer High School's student council executive board, a position that requires writing up agendas and keeping the minutes for each session.

In the meantime, her focus will be on the state championships and the Junior Olympics. She qualified for the trip to New Hampshire in the Besh Cup series of cross-country races, picking up enough points to make the cut.

"I had to get really focused (for the Besh Cup)," Martin said. "I skied relaxed, and that really helped. I focused on me, and what I could do."

Past that, Martin is hoping to compete once she reaches the college level.

"I want to see how far I can go," Martin said. "I'd really like to ski in college, and see where it goes from there."

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