Once the snow falls there is only one thing on junior Amanda Franklin’s mind, getting out on her snowboard and riding down the monstrous Black Diamond hills. The thrill of snowboarding and the competition has always been a second nature for Franklin.
Living in Michigan there is no doubt, that with the usual cold winters, Franklin is seen on her board practicing for her upcoming Boardercross season.
Boardercross is a snowboarding competition in which a group of snowboarders (usually four) start simultaneously at the top of a hill, then race to reach the finish line first. The Howell High school team has been ranked the third and fourth best team in the state the past two years.
Franklin has been snowboarding since she was eight years old and has loved it ever since. Wanting a more competitive challenge she decided to join Boardercross her freshman year in high school.
“I wanted a more competitive aspect, I didn’t just want to ride,” says Franklin. She was quick to adapt to the high speed sport and was named one of the captains of the team in her sophomore year.
The biggest highlight so far in her snowboarding career is that in which she was able to qualify for nationals her sophomore year; she was one of three teammates who qualified. To qualify for this event a racer must win three races, two of which were located at Boyne Highlands and the other was located at Otsego.
Nationals were held in Colorado, and were a seven day competition. “I don’t know what my parents did to be able to get me to Colorado, but they did and I was so lucky to have them to support me through that.”
After the competition was completed and time trials were scored Franklin achieved 33rd place overall.
The sixteen year old would be nowhere without her team and devoted family, coaches, and best friends by her side. “The support system I have is incredible. My parents will drop
anything to help me and be there for me.”
Keeping herself in shape is always a priority for Franklin. She and her dad spend a lot of time in the summer months mountain biking and cross training. “You always have to stay in shape for Boardercross because you can’t just jump into a high intensity sport and expect to be ready without working at it.”
As the starting goalie for the varsity girls Howell High School soccer team Franklin knows about mental endurance. “Letting goals in can leave you in the most frustrated state you have ever been in,” says Franklin. She is prepared to step up and compete just as hard as last year and keep improving.
This upcoming season for Boardercross starts up in January. The team is separated into a boys team and a girls team. The boys team captain is Nick Swan and they have 17 members on the team. The girls team captain is Amanda Franklin and they have 13 members on their team. Danielle Kollath, who is one of the seniors on the team, and Adam Rhodes, also a senior, both have the same expectations for the season.
“I want a lot of us to be able to individually compete in states,” says Kollath, regarding the teams’ goals for the upcoming season.
“We have one of the largest and most talented girls teams in the league; I have high expectations for them and fully expect them to qualify for the state finals,” says coach Rick Ruggles.
Ruggles has been coaching the team for seven years, alongside Lori Draheim for three years.
“I love snowboarding in general, and what I like the most about Boardercross is the racing action and watching our riders progress and improve through the season,” says Ruggles.
The district finals, which will be held at Mt. Brighton on Feb. 2, with the top three teams advancing to the regional finals race held on Feb. 6. The top two teams from the regionals will advance to the state finals held on Feb. 10.
Franklin says with a smile, “I do want to thank everyone who was helped me be who I am, I couldn’t just do it myself. It’s a team effort.”