“Champions Made Here” is the trademark slogan of UCLA Athletics. It’s an athlete like Mammoth High School Senior Kelly Berger who could prove the same statement for Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team.
Just a couple weeks back, the 12th grader showed her face again in the hallways of the local public high school, returning Stateside from a two-and-a-half month visit to New Zealand, which included both training and competing for Women’s Halfpipe at the highest caliber level: Competing for eligibility for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Kelly’s ten week stint in the Southern Hemisphere represented competition against some of the world’s top female riders, including current U.S. Team Members like Kelly Clark. Ms. Berger finished 15th of 40 riders in a World Cup Halfpipe event, making herself eligible for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. While she hasn’t guaranteed herself a spot yet competing with the U.S. Team in Russia, she is definitely on the right road to success. Kelly must compete in Grand Prix events this winter, which includes a trip to Copper Mountain and a couple events hosted here in Mammoth, but her eyes are definitely set on a plane ticket to Russia for next February.
Kelly has been snowboarding with the Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team for ten years. She credits a lot of her success to her favorite coaches: Ben Wisner and Mike Ramirez. Wisner said of Kelly, “She has always been one of our most talented female snowboarders and it has been a pleasure watching her progress over the years. She works hard on the hill and understands what it takes to make it on the international stage. She proved that this year in New Zealand placing at the World Cup Halfpipe. I am excited to see what Kelly can achieve in the future if she continues to work hard and stays focused.”
When I asked Kelly about her drive for the sport, she simply told me, “Snowboarding is a fun sport. I look forward to doing it. It is motivating by itself.”She “wants to be with the top girls, invited to the big contests.” Her goal in the field of snowboarding is to take it as far as she can, and to become self-supporting.
Along with snowboarding, Kelly is playing her seventh consecutive year of Girls’ Volleyball. MHS Girls’ Volleyball Head Coach John Morris spoke highly of Kelly, stating that Kelly has a noticeable level of maturity that has really developed. He believes that her ability to commit to training in another continent has played a big role in this. As for her presence on the court, he mentioned that her 13 attempts, 10 kills, and 0 errors in the game against Desert is almost unheard of, and that she had an “amazing weekend.”
As for academics, Kelly seeks to finish high school, and most likely will attend Cerro Coso College while continuing to train and compete in the snowboarding world. Her favorite school subjects are history and biology and her favorite teachers are Independent Learning Center (ILC) instructors Zach Tourville and David Tompkins. Kelly highly appreciates the opportunity of attending the ILC because it, “Let’s me do what I love to do.” She said of Tourville, “He’s the smartest guy I know.”
What words of wisdom does Kelly Berger has for you? “Do what you love. Love what you do.” What does Kelly tell the world of Mammoth Lakes, California? Champions really are made here.
Go big, Ms. Berger.