October 2016 Around Town 8

Goose at the Top

By Mary Etherington

Jackson Delgrosso, 11, aka “Goose,” is involved in multiple sports and activities but since learning to walk he has been a climber. Jackson started going to Momentum Climbing Gym with his dad where professional climbing coaches noticed his potential and asked him to join the Momentum climbing team. He started on the team at eight years old and quickly excelled in sport climbing and bouldering. This year he won 2nd Place at Regionals qualifying him to compete at the Western States Divisional Championship where he also placed 2nd. This qualified Jackson to travel to Atlanta to compete against the top 50 climbers from around the country at the USA Climbing Championships. Currently ranked 6th in the Nation, he climbs at least 14 hours each week and loves every minute of it. With climbing added as a new Olympic event in the 2020 games, Jackson has his sights set on Tokyo.

Girl on a Roll

Maddie Dahl is a local 11-year-old sixth grader and also the reigning Level 9 Utah State Champion in gymnastics, and a USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic level 10 gymnast. She is currently the youngest Level 10 gymnast in Utah (10 is the highest level in Junior Olympic competition) as well as a current member of a Nationally Ranked Junior Olympic team at All American Gymnastics in Lindon, Utah. Maddie took 4th place overall in the Region (California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona) for her age group and is a National TOPS Team member. Maddie has been a gymnast for six years and trains 28-30 hours a week with coaches Jimmy Pratt and Dawn Johnson. She was originally inspired by her older sister Allie, who is also a competitive gymnast. It was obvious to Maddie’s coaches right away (at age five!) that she had the talent and the drive to be great. Maddie’s favorite thing about gymnastics is being part of a team and the lifelong friends that she has made because of it. She looks up to the U.S. Olympic gymnasts and admires the dedication that goes into being that great, and competing at that level. Some of Maddie’s favorite memories are of attending training camps and competitions at the Karolyi Ranch where the U.S. Olympic Training Center is located in Texas.

Kendama Derek

By Kelly Erickson

He flips it, twists it, catches it, juggles it, spins it. Kendama Derek is a Kendama expert. It is practically an extension of his right arm. He was Kendama before Kendama was cool. Never one without his signature baseball cap, one can usually see this baseball loving kid fiddling with it to mallet-string-ball perfection. Derek Astin bought his first one in 2014 with birthday money. And like most every kid, it probably would have ended up collecting dust, long forgotten to the electronic gaming world. But through a trampoline mishap, Kendama became Derek’s childhood destiny. “Two weeks after I bought my Kendama, I shattered my face on the trampoline. I missed the rest of the school year because I had to get surgery.” With double-vision and hours stuck on the couch convalescing, Derek started tossing the wooden ball on the mallet. It helped him recover from the double-vision and led him to Kendama greatness. “I was trash when I first started. I could do very little.” Posting on Instagram going to tournaments and Kendama gatherings, his skill set improved rapidly and now Derek is an official tribe member for Kendama USA, with a couple of cool Youtube videos sponsored by them and over 7,000 followers on his Instagram account, @dama_derek.

Super Grace

By Tami Weaver

The first day of Track sophomore year the coaches were looking for “sprinters with a gymnastics background who are a little bit crazy” to join the newly sanctioned girls pole vault program at Hillcrest High School. Grace Weaver volunteered. Two years later, Grace and her teammates took the top three spots in the 2016 Utah UHSAA 4A State Track and Field Championships. Grace got a personal best that day soaring nine feet. If you ask Grace why she loves this sport her answer would be, “Pole vaulting is the closest you can get to flying.”

Bright Brothers

By Mary Etherington

Dale Schlachter, 18, scored a perfect round at the Robotics World Championships in 4th grade, programmed computers including a program for a Utah Science Olympiad Robotic Arm Competition, joined the Robotics Competition Team at Hillcrest High School as Programming and Design Lead, placed second in a Utah Accounting II event, represented Utah at the National FBLA Conference in Chicago, scored a 5 (top score) on 15 AP tests, earned a perfect 36 ACT score and hopes to major in Management at BYU’s Marriott School of Business this fall. Andy Schlachter, 14, builds RC vehicles, web designs, measured the health of the ozone layer by sending a weather balloon into the stratosphere receiving First at his school’s Science Fair, also in his Division at the Central Utah Science and Engineering Fair and as a semi-finalist with Broadcom MASTERS. Only 300 projects earn that honor. See more at Andonia.eu.pn/achievements–6th_grade_science_fair.html

Hard Work Pays Off

“If anyone can have it, I don’t want it.” These are words that Lizzie Simmons, a sophomore at CCHS, lives by. The hard work shows. Lizzie has a grade point average of 3.988, won the “Semper Excelsius Award” 2016, and was the State Champ her freshman year in Impromtu Debate. In Impromptu Debate, participants are given three random topics. They pick one and have seven minutes to prepare and give an impromptu speech. Though this seems like little time, Lizzie’s preparation is seeped into her. She says, “My dad taught me at a young age to love literature. He would tell me historical stories and I’d listen to great speeches. I’ve been memorizing  poems, speeches and songs for as long as I can remember.” She says a future occupation might be as a speechwriter, and she loves the speeches that Peggy Noonan wrote for Ronald Reagan. In addition to her academics, Lizzie has played the guitar for six years and is a stand-out tennis player, winning JV Regional Doubles as a freshman. This year, she is playing varsity tennis. How did she come by that? More hard work, of course: she played and practiced tennis all off-season.

Don’t take the little things 
for granted

By Kelly Erickson

In the 2015 opening football game against Pleasant Grove, recent CCHS grad Cam Forte broke his femur and had every intention of coming back. The star running back, punter and linebacker had the biggest schools, like Oregon and Michigan, recruiting him. His football prospects were bright. The injury required surgery and a disappointed Cam healed slower than he had hoped. There would be no comeback. He received a LDS mission call in the spring to Benin/Cote d’Ivoire and was excited to serve. But his leg started to hurt again in March, and after another surgery, the diagnosis was devastating: Ewing’s sarcoma. Cam started chemo immediately and once the tumor had shrunk by 40%, his entire left femur was removed surgically and replaced with a femoral implant. “I have been through hell and back and it sucks. But it shows me how hard and how far our bodies can go. I am blessed for cancer because I have been able to see and learn things that I couldn’t without it. Don’t take little things for granted.” The broken leg actually was a huge blessing for Cam Forte because he was diagnosed before he left on a mission to a third world country and the break was away from his vital organs. He is an extraordinary young man because he only needs one good leg to kick cancer to the curb.

Miss Draper Outstanding Teen

Rachel Parkinson, 16, is the current Miss Draper Outstanding Teen, and a stand out dancer. Dancing since the age three, she trains over 20 hours per week at the dance club in Orem and has won many national and regional awards including Hollywood Vibes National Dancer of the Year. She has also been awarded Dance Spirit Magazine’s 2014 Rising Star and 2015 Dancer You Should Know. Rachel is known for her stage presence, musicality and performance ability even though she suffered from extreme stage fright as a child. Her mom recalls, “She would cry big tears before every performance and I would have to stand in the wings and bribe her with candy.” Even with all her dancing time, Rachel manages to maintain a 4.0 and serve in student government at CCHS. She’s a beautiful skier and loves all things outdoors.

Golf Phenom

By Katie Boman

Tyse Boman started playing golf last summer at age seven. After watching his older brother play in a junior tournament, he begged his dad to let him start playing. His dad finally agreed, and in his first tournament, he shot a 40 and took 3rd place and loved the game instantly. In his sixth tournament he got his first win, shooting a one over par 37, winning by five shots. That win also earned him some new clubs from dad. This year as an eight year old, he qualified for the Utah Junior State Amateur Match Play in the 10 year old division. He made it to the final eight. He has had six first place finishes this year, including the SLC Junior Championship. He won the Utah PGA’s Junior Player of the Year award for his division. His favorite part of golf is making long putts which he spends a lot of time practicing at Hidden Valley Country Club. He loves being on the golf course with his dad, siblings and friends and golf has suddenly become his favorite sport.