Amanda Kirkeby has the most appropriate assigned number for her Varsity Volleyball jersey: “0.” It represents the number of errors she committed in the last couple of playoff games of the season, a season that came to an end Tuesday against Pomona Catholic High School.
Which does nothing to diminish the team’s terrific 17-6 season, and a co-championship of the Desert Mountain League.
My hat goes off to Head Coach John Morris, Assistant Coach Janet Shipley, Athletic Director Janine Porges, the entire squad of athletes, and, this week’s all-star: Number 0.
Kirkeby is a junior at Mammoth High School. What’s that mean for her? She is currently attending a course at Cerro Coso Community College studying U.S. History. Amanda is an extremely bright and gifted student. Next semester, along with her classes at Mammoth High School, she will enroll again at the local community college in either English or Critical Thinking.
Her favorite school subjects are math and science, because, as she says, “They are just straight forward subjects, and they come easy to me.” Amanda earns all “A’s” regardless of the subject. Her collegiate academic journey has already begun. She wants to attend a 4-year after graduating from Mammoth High School, and study a form of engineering, possibly biological engineering. She also aspires to continue to play volleyball at the next level, or Nordic ski. Venturing off the beaten path with a bit of international travel including the likelihood of studying abroad for a year is all a part of her well-thought future game plan.
Meanwhile, she just finished her third year of Varsity Volleyball. Head Coach John Morris said of Amanda, “She was very consistent for most of the season. She’s been on varsity since her freshman year. Our last playoffs, she just really stepped it up. Her hitting went up a couple levels … her entire game really. Zero errors on hitting. Her serves, a ton of aces. When someone steps up like that, it energizes the entire team.”
“World’s greatest attitude,” he concluded. Those three words state it best. I asked John about the season. “I can’t even describe how good it was this year. We got a banner. We beat the alumni for the first time ever. I can’t say enough about these girls.”
Amanda now has her eyes locked on competitive Nordic skiing. The snow came right on time. While Amanda has been playing volleyball since fourth grade, she has been Nordic skiing even longer: since first grade. She started with the Gliders Program. Her skate-skiing and classic-skiing continued throughout her middle school era, and now at the high school level. Her goal this season? She wants to go to Junior Olympics, again. Yes, again. I’ve worked with the Nordic team and athletes up at Tamarack, and I’ve seen Amanda on snow. She is fast in a race on the skates, and not one to refuse a day of “powder-pigging it” on the classic sticks after a good snowstorm. She also owns one of those frozen grins you see up at Tamarack a lot.
I’ve alpine skied, and coached alpine skiing, for several years. It wasn’t until the winter of 2010/2011 when I started Nordic skiing – also in a coaching capacity. I learned quickly that almost anyone can ski downhill, and hardly anyone can ski uphill. Amanda is a part of this elite group, a group who will be coached and led by the very respectable guidance and leadership of former Nordic Olympian Nancy Fiddler.
I asked Amanda if she has any favorite athletes. She likes Kikkan Randall, and laughingly told me, “A famous Nordic skier, but not quite as famous as Nancy Fiddler.”
When the snow melts, she will partake in Track and Field. This includes the high jump, long jump, 400 meter hurdles, and mile sprint. That’s a lot of sports in ten months of school.
Amanda’s biggest source of inspiration is sister Kathi (MHS Class of 2010). “I always wanted to beat her, that sibling rivalry. For skiing, she would bring me along to the workouts.” Amanda chuckled, and said Fiddler would insist that she listen to her older sister. It’s paying off.
As for Amanda’s advice for you, “Just go out and do what you want to do. Don’t worry about what other people think of you. Have fun.” This week’s pick of “Athlete of the week” is an all-star. She just finished a great volleyball season. And, now, it is time to ski.