Mikayla Schoening knew early in life that swimming was her passion, and it is that passion that has driven her to success for the Sandpoint High School swim team.
“I have been swimming since around fifth grade,” said Mikayla. She has gone to state each year since her freshman year and recently brought home four gold medals from districts as well as helped the girIs’ team win districts overall. She went on to have a fabulous showing at state where she won the state title in the 100 freestyle by .18 seconds and finished second in the 50 free by .33 seconds. She also teamed up with her teammates to win the 200 free relay.
On the honor roll each semester throughout high school, Mikayla said that working to keep her grades up help her to perform her best both in and out of the pool.
A junior, Mikayla is currently undecided on what school she will attend. “I do believe that I want to swim in college,” said Mikayla, who plans to major in pediatric nursing. “Swimming has become a part of my daily life, so I think I should keep it that way.”
Mikayla said what she enjoys most about swimming is the fact it is an individual sport. Yet, the mental aspect is a challenge. “This sport isn't just about the physical game but your mental game as well. When my body gets tired and worn down, I have to engage the positivity in my mind in order to be able to finish strong,” said Mikayla.
One lesson that swimming has taught Mikayla is that when she is tired, that is when she has to push her hardest. “Unlike several other sports, when you're exhausted or need a break to breathe or grab some water, you don't have the option to go sit on the bench until you're ready to be put back in; that is the time that you have to dig deep and find that fifth gear inside you and use that to push you to go faster.”
When it comes to all-around dedication, Ephriam Weisz is a perfect example. An honor roll student throughout high school, Ephriam also perseveres when it comes to athletics.
His coach, Matt Brass, said that Ephriam began running as a freshman with no prior experience and, by his junior year, was one of the team’s top runners. Even more important is that he has been fully committed since joining.
“He has missed less than five practices in cross country and track, including off-season conditioning, in four years,” said Brass. “He also has been one of the best athletes we have ever had at welcoming in new runners, making them feel like they are part of a team and teaching them how we train. He will be sorely missed next year for both his performance and his mentoring.”
Ephriam was a three-year top-10 finisher at regionals and won regionals his junior year. And as a sophomore in track, he was third in the 3200.
Although undecided as to where he will attend college, Ephriam said he would like to study psychology and hopes to receive a master’s degree. “I’m interested in psychology because I think it’s interesting to understand people and what leads them to be who they are.”
Ephriam said that he finds the mental aspect of running to be the most challenging, but he overcomes that by focusing on his teammates and his team’s goals. But running is also therapeutic to him. “It gives me the time to think,” he said.
He is grateful to all the opportunities that cross country and track have given to him, and Ephriam said he has learned a very important life lesson from his coaches over the past four years. “Remember to be grateful for every opportunity we get in life.”