Press-Republican

August 14, 2013

Local teen is top skier, student

ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
Press-Republican

MORRISONVILLE — Maile Sapp’s goals for the future are both ambitious and many. 

The 18-year-old Morrisonville resident hopes to one day become fluent in French, offer medical assistance in third-world countries and attend graduate school. 

She also dreams of being an Olympic skier. 

“I’m a very competitive person,” said Sapp, who competes in cross-county skiing with the New York Ski Educational Foundation out of Lake Placid and was recently named to the New England Nordic Ski Association Development Team. 

This past winter, she competed in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Junior National Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska, and placed in the top 10 in her age group five times at Eastern Cup races. 

SKIED SINCE AGE 2

Currently ranked seventh in the East in her age group, Sapp was introduced to the sport at 2 years old by her parents, Andree and Randy Sapp, who also grew up skiing. 

“It’s been a family activity ever since,” Maile said.

Her 14-year-old brother, Everett, she added, is also an accomplished skier and will enter junior racing this year. 

As a member of the Development Team, Maile was invited to attend the Eastern Regional Elite Group Training Camp in Stratton, Vt., for a week in June, where she got to train with members of the U.S. Ski Team. 

“It’s just kind of an honor to be on the (Development) Team,” she said. “They do offer a little bit of financial support.”

That, however, isn’t the only elite ski group Maile belongs to.

On Aug. 20, she will begin her higher education at Harvard College, where she has been recruited as a member of the school’s ski team. 

“I’m still kind of in shock, said Maile, who has spent much of her summer training at ski camps, as well as on her own. 

“Having a team and a coach to train with every day will be really nice.”

SUPPORTIVE TEACHERS

But participating in Harvard’s ski program is just a part of what excites the teen about attending the school. 

Upon visiting there and catching a glimpse of its extensive library system, Maile said, “I wanted to just start studying.

“I’ve always studied and worked really hard.”

So hard, in fact, that she not only graduated at the top of her class at Beekmantown High School this year but was able to complete her graduation requirements a semester early despite splitting her time between school and skiing. 

“Fortunately, I had teachers who are really supportive and encouraging, and they were always there to make sure I had my work ahead of time.

“Traveling in the van to ski races, I was doing homework (and) reading textbooks.”

‘EYE-OPENING’

Maile spent part of her senior year’s second semester in Europe as an intern for Mountain Lakes International, a professional-services firm that provides executive leadership coaching for various organizations. 

Through the six-week internship, she traveled to France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy and assisted with leadership courses offered to Mountain Lakes clients. 

“It was really good exposure,” Maile said of working with the firm. 

In addition, she noted, overcoming the challenges of foreign travel, as well as experiencing the diversity and rich history of the European countries, was eye-opening. 

“Being immersed in all that was really spectacular,” said Maile, who returned to BCSD in May to complete non-required courses and deliver her graduation speech. 

‘CENTERED AND PURE’

Though she isn’t yet certain what she will study at Harvard and hopes to explore a number of disciplines, the teen is leaning toward a major in neuroscience with a minor in French. 

Those courses of study, Maile noted, would hopefully allow her to travel to places like Haiti, Senegal or Ghana after graduation and give medical assistance to the people there. 

“I don’t foresee myself going to graduate school right after college,” she said. “I kind of do want to have a couple years for more traveling and helping others.”

But regardless of her academic path, Maile intends to ski for as long as she possibly can, whether it’s as an Olympian, a regional competitor or a coach. 

“When I’m out on the snow with my skis on, I just feel so centered and pure, and it’s like my mind just goes clear, and it’s just something I’ve always been passionate about,” she said. 

Email Ashleigh Livingston:alivingston@pressrepublican.com