More than 100 NYO participants were in Seward Friday March 22nd through Sunday, March 24th to compete in Qutekcak Native Tribe’s Third-Annual Seward Native Youth Olympic Invitational , coordinated by Melanee Stevens.
Everyone watched with awe as Conner Floyd, a Senior NYO teenager from the Burchell team was carried 436 feet, circling a little more than twice around the track as he hung from his wrist from a wooden pole. Seward NYO’s Diane German, a sophomore, made it an impressive 230 feet in the wrist carry. Cheers were as hearty for those who made it a great distance as for those who tried, but fell off just a second after being lifted. That’s the spirit of NYO. In what other sport do opponents who had competed with all their strength moments earlier lean over and give one another big, heart-felt hugs? At NYO, the support and encouragement of one’s own team members, members from visiting teams, and coaches is what it’s all about.
NYO teams included the Kenaitze, Chickaloon, Ninilchik, Alaska Native Heritage Center, Burchell (Wasilla) and Seward Qutekcak. There were about a dozen independents too. Somewhat fewer teams than expected participated due to an NYO mini-meet event in the Valley, Stevens said. But the spirit and energy expressed was extremely high, even on the last day, Sunday, although everyone had competed until 10:00 p.m. on the previous night. Even when they broke for lunch Sunday, the gym filled with dozens and dozens of children from Kindergarten to high school, racing around, dancing and playing tag. Nobody wanted to leave–not even for an hour.