Brie Whalen said there’s something special about individual sports, where achievements rest on just one person—herself.
“It felt good to do well in skiing,” Whalen said. “You are the one who has to encourage yourself. It definitely brought out a lot of strength in me.”
The John Jay senior used to play volleyball and now still lacrosse but has concentrated on skiing for the John Jay/North Salem squad this year, after skiing at the Okemo Mountain School in Vermont earlier in her sports career.
Whalen said she feels more confident as a person because of skiing and dealing with winning and losing. “You are always against one other person so no matter what, it’s really, really hard to win,” she said.
Though disappointed with her 13th place finish in the recent state championships in the giant slalom, she said she was just happy to place, given the competitive playing field, noting that her results for the slalom last year were better.
This was Whalen’s second year of skiing on the varsity team after her Okemo. During her sophomore and freshman years, she would spend approximately five months attending school there, from late November until sometime in March. She also spent between one and two months at the Vermont based-school in seventh and eighth grades.
“I was doing really well in Vermont,” said Whalen. “A lot of races ended up being during the week and to get where you want to be, you have to be full-time during the week so we train every single day.”
While skiing in New England helped her immensely on the slopes, she explained why she came back to John Jay full-time for her junior and senior years.
“All of my siblings have done it and they loved it,” Whalen said. “They all competed really well too. I was excited for that. Also, junior year was when SAT’s came around, ACT’s too. I was also on the varsity lacrosse team, it was just so much time was taking up by skiing that I had to focus back home and be there for other sports and schoolwork.”
In addition to skiing, Whalen also plays defense for the John Jay girls lacrosse team. This spring will be the third year on the squad.
She enjoyed volleyball—Whalen played modified in middle school, then for the freshman and JV teams—but found three sports to be too much. And though she has enjoyed tremendously the camaraderie of the lacrosse team, the thrill of the slopes and snow still calls.
“Skiing is my passion; it’s a huge part of my life,” Whalen said.