Peninsula athletes small in number, mighty in spirit

Posted: Monday, March 06, 2006

Athletes from the Kenai Peninsula generally compose a small percentage of representative Alaskan players. Only a small handful from the Kenai Peninsula competed in the 2002 and 2004 winter games; however, Peninsula residents have been ardent and enthusiastic competitors nonetheless.

2006 is the first time the Kenai Peninsula has been honored by hosting the games. The games are a very special experience for all young athletes, but it’s always even more special for the hosting team.

Mindy Cason was a gold medalist in volleyball at the 2002 Arctic Winter Games that were co-hosted in Nuuk, Greenland and Iqaluit, Nunavut. Being from Nikiski, she was one of the few Peninsula residents to make the team and the chance to participate impacted her in a very special way:

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to play in college or not, so for a high school senior it was possibly my last chance to play competitively. But it was so cool, cool for the athletes because they all had so much enthusiasm for each other, we all made friends.”

And how does she feel about the games taking place not far from her hometown?

“I just think it’s really cool for the athletes, because when we went to Greenland it was like the athletes ruled. I remember people we met would always come to our games and show support for each other. So that’s what I’m going to do; try and make as many sports as I can, especially the volleyball.”

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