Unconventional Athletes: Winter Edition


Credit: Courtesy of Paul Gleason

Junior Paul Gleason crosses the finish line at skier cross nationals in 2017. Gleason hopes that his sport can gain recognition on a larger scale. “It was never really promoted by the US ski teams, so I’m here to show the US ski team that there is a team sitting here waiting to compete,” Gleason said.

CJ Brown

This is the second edition of an article detailing athletes at WHS who participate in non-traditional sports. You can read the first article here.

Despite the many sports offered at WHS, many students participate in sports offered outside of the traditional high school circuit. While some students spend their time outside of class competing alongside their classmates, a select group of WHS students play sports outside.

Junior Ethan Betancourt has been boxing for a month at the Title Boxing Club in Framingham. Betancourt sees boxing as a way to relieve stress and stay in shape.

“I always beat up my brother, and I get really angry, so my parents made me box,” Betancourt said.

Although Betancourt has yet to compete, he’s still learning valuable lessons through his time practicing.

“Boxing has taught me a lot about discipline, and it’s helped me get into really good shape,” Betancourt said.

Along with competing as a part of the WHS alpine ski team, junior Paul Gleason competes in a different form of ski competition: skier cross.

“It’s when you send four guys down a trail at once, and you go down a technical course with rollers, bank turns and most of the time you have a good set at the end,” Gleason said.

Gleason is currently ranked 10th in the nation in the 16-17 age group, and this will be his third consecutive year competing on the national scale.

“My main goal is to have fun and become a better skier,” Gleason said. “If I succeed in the end, that’s good for me, but I’m really just out here to show that skier cross is a real sport.”

Junior Noelle Flanagan is a competitive figure skater, and for her, it’s all about the love of the sport. Flanagan competes four to five times a year, and in these competitions, skaters are broken into “flights.”

“Sometimes there are final rounds, so if you do well in your flight you can move on to compete against other flights,” Flanagan said. “It’s fun, [and] I’ve been skating since I was really little.”

Despite their commitments to sports outside of school, many they still find time for Wayland athletics. This spring, Betancourt will be playing baseball, and Gleason will be playing lacrosse, whereas Flanagan skates exclusively.

Regardless of the sport or level of competition, these athletes are doing what they love and proving themselves to the world.

“Boxing has made me a better person, and I’m happy for the opportunity I have to get better,” Betancourt said.