As an athlete who’s fairly new to her sport, Melanie Swick does not consider herself a frontrunner or an expert among the regional Nordic skiing circuit. In fact, the Incline High senior says that in just her third year of skiing, she’s still learning the ropes.
But while she may have less experience than some of her competitors, Swick has proven she has what it takes — both physically and mentally — to shine in a sport she’s fallen in love with.
Swick’s athletic abilities, combined with her exemplary attitude, work ethic and leadership skills, have not gone unnoticed by her coaches and teammates. She was recently awarded the coveted Far West Nordic Ski Education Association’s annual Ted Beauchamp Scholarship.
“Melanie is a good example of why coaching is a lot of fun,” said Incline High Nordic coach Michael Collins. “Watching a young athlete make enormous improvement over such a short period is the best reward there is.”
The Ted Beauchamp Scholarship fund was established by the Beauchamp family and the Far West Nordic Ski Association in memory of Ted Beauchamp, a devoted supporter of Nordic skiing a dedicated member of the Far West board of directors.
During his lifetime, Beauchamp coached numerous local youth, passing along his deep love for skiing and the outdoors. He was also an enthusiastic and frequent volunteer at local Nordic events.
The scholarship fund set up in Beauchamp’s memory awards $300 to a local junior (ages 12-19) Nordic skier each year to provide financial assistance with racing, training and/or equipment costs. The recipient is selected by a committee of Far West members and the Beauchamp family. Scholarships are evaluated based on athletes’ commitment to Nordic skiing; attitude, attendance and athleticism in pursuing their goals; and how they embody the Ted Beauchamp legacy.
Swick said she was both thrilled and surprised to receive this year’s scholarship. She also acknowledged the honor of receiving such a meaningful award.
“The Ted Beauchamp Scholarship represents a legacy that I hoped to associate myself with because it represents something more than skill or ability,” Swick said. “This scholarship has a significant monetary value … but at the same time it helps strengthen my commitment and dedication to Nordic.”
Swick said the scholarship has provided tremendous assistance in helping her fulfill her goals this year, which included participating at the Junior National championship this past week in Midway, Utah, where Swick turned in a top-30 performance in the FOJ 10-kilometer freestyle race, earning valuable points for her team.
Swick said she hopes her love and dedication to the sport will enable her to continue skiing, and racing, in college. Ultimately, she said she hopes to maintain Nordic skiing as a lifetime sport. But even in just three years, the sport has already made a lasting impact on her.
“I can confidently say that skiing has changed me,” Swick said. “Nordic was a learning experience unlike any other because it wasn’t a sport (where I could rely on) natural abilities. Skiing is a constant challenge where I must ski smart in order to ski well. This helps me foster the ambition to conquer other challenges too.”
Swick attributed the support she’s received from the local Nordic community, as well as her family, for her quick ascent in Nordic skiing.
“I’m so appreciate of all the help I’ve received,” she said. “I’m very grateful to the Beauchamp family for their generosity, my coaches for their dedication and encouragement, and also my family for their support at home and on the sidelines.”