Contributed by Isabel Lobon
If you have been to a ski race this year, you are sure to have seen new ski coach Mayra Hernandez enthusiastically cheering on her racers and congratulating them as they finish their runs.
For a team that has had three different coaches in four years, creating a sense of unity and camaraderie on the ski team could not be more important. Hernandez, a performing arts teacher at the high school and the head ski coach, said she is excited to take on this role.
Hernandez replaced Anya Eckhardt after Eckhardt left the high school for a different teaching position. Hernandez uses positivity and support to bring energy to the team.
She was first introduced to the skiers when leading their yoga sessions the previous year.
“I was really fortunate that last year when Ms. Eckhardt was coaching. I was able to teach yoga to the skiers. That was my nice introduction with people that are on the team, for them to get to know me and learn my teaching style,” Hernandez said.
In addition to yoga, Hernandez teaches dance and said that it definitely influences how she coaches.
“My job is all about how you move your body and exert a lot of force, but you do it with a graceful sense and you’re anatomically correct in your movement. You know how to think about preventing injuries in giving it your all, honoring your limits and also enjoying the craft,” Hernandez said.
According to senior Isabel Lobon, a team captain, Hernandez is very supportive of all of the skiers on the team.
“Ms. Hernandez is the first one to tell you that you had a good run, even if you think you did not, and it just makes you feel so much better. She is our number one fan out on the mountain,” Lobon said.
Lobon said that she believes that Hernandez has really brought the team closer together.
“I think we are definitely more unified and I think she is a major part of that in rallying everyone together and making sure everyone is out on the mountain supporting each other,” Lobon said.
Assistant Athletic Director Kyle Williams said he has received positive reactions from people involved with the ski team.
“I am getting feedback from kids and parents already that they’re just having a great time. Everything’s going really smoothly so far,” Williams said.
Hernandez believes that a positive attitude is especially important in stressful situations. For instance, earlier this season, one of the skiers cut themselves while tuning their skis and Hernandez used that attitude to aid the situation.
“You kind of have to embrace and accept everything that comes your way, positive and negative,” Hernandez said. “It only is going to fuel you to get to the place you want to go to so, enjoy it. Cry if you need to cry, get mad if you need to get mad, be happy when you need to be happy. Live in those feelings but don’t stay there, and make the most of it.”
Lobon is optimistic about the team’s chance for success with Hernandez as their coach.
“She has been an amazing addition to our team,” Lobon said. “We really could not have picked a better coach to come and lead the team to victory.”