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Athlete of the Week: Cheradin Ralph — Zimmerman archery
On Jan. 8, Cheradin Ralph’s upper leg bones were broken and straightened with plates and screws – the latest of a string of serious surgeries she’s had throughout her life.
One week later, she returned home and continued to deal with a recovery process that was much more difficult than she anticipated.
One week after that, Ralph competed in an archery tournament. She did so in a wheelchair.
The seventh grader – who was in serious pain while healing from the surgery during the rest of the season – participated in 11 of 12 local archery competitions for Zimmerman this year. She used a wheelchair in seven of those competitions. At a competition on March 3, she graduated to a walker and stood up while shooting. She placed fourth, with a score of 273 out of 300.
The next day, at another competition, she scored her personal best, 280, and recorded a perfect 50 at the event. Ralph placed in the top five at three of the last four regular-season competitions and took 11th place in her division at the National Archery in the Schools Program State Competition on April 2.
“Her teammates have cheered her on during her stay in the hospital and when she returned to practice,” Zimmerman basic archery instructor coach Teri Sandy said. “It completely blew them away how she gleamed such a positive spirit during her time of obvious pain.”
To fully understand Ralph’s courage, you have to first understand the pain she’s experienced throughout her life.
She was born with legs that had a mild rotation, which is not extremely abnormal. However, her legs never straightened out as they grew. At 3 years old, doctors discovered that the rotation was increasing, and she started to suffer from more painful symptoms.
Ralph competed in karate and hockey as a young kid, but eventually she was unable to sustain the impact of those sports.
At 9 years old, she had her first bilateral surgery, which was followed by another surgery on both legs a year later. That surgery was a success on the lower bones in her legs, but the upper bone, the fibia, continued to rotate. She’s dealt with years of leg, hip and chronic knee pain since then.
With hockey and karate no longer feasible, Ralph and her parents brainstormed sports where she could stay active but not worry about physical contact. Ralph always had a passion for hunting and archery, and when she was in sixth grade, she and her parents decided she could pick up competitive archery.
“This allowed her to continue to be active,” her mother, Dee, said. “She’s very competitive.”
She trained at Whitcombs Whitetails in Princeton in anticipation for this season, knowing she’d have to work even harder due to her upcoming surgery. Ralph still experiences pains and spasms in her legs, but that hasn’t stopped her from excelling as an archer.
Her mother lifted her out of her wheelchair and carried her at necessary times at archery events throughout the season. She could have sat on the couch at home, but that isn’t the way Ralph likes to live.
At the end of a dazzling season, members of the team almost unanimously voted Ralph for the Inspiration Award that is selected from nominations submitted from other schools throughout the state and presented at the National Archery in the Schools Program state tournament. Though she didn’t win the award, she inspired her team to a sixth-place finish at the state competition. It was the best score in team history, which qualified Zimmerman for the NASP national competition held in Kentucky.
“She didn’t let this major surgery stop her from achieving her goals for the season,” Sandy said. “It was so great to witness the profound effect this little girl had on the archers and coaches alike. She is a shining star who has touched all our lives so positively, while going through such pain and the challenges of healing, only trying to live the normal life of a girl who loves archery.”
Zimmerman’s Seymour to receive Athena Award
Zimmerman senior Megan Seymour was named a recipient of the Athena Award, which is given to 55 top female athletes around the state.
Seymour earned a total of six varsity letters. She guided the Thunder girls soccer team to a conference championship in 2015, broke the school triple jump record and placed 15th at state in triple jump.
Her favorite memory is when one of her teammates and her coach ate a worm at soccer practice one day. Seymour volunteers at Feed My Starving Children and is part of the prom crew. She was a B Honor roll student in 10th and 12th grade.
Next year, Seymour plans to attend either Minnesota State University-Mankato or St. Mary’s University,
The 44th Annual Minneapolis Athena Awards will be presented Friday, May 6, at the Double Tree Hotel in Bloomington, (7800 Normandale Blvd). The Awards Luncheon, which begins at 11:15 a.m., offers an opportunity to encourage and recognize the achievements of young female athletes from public and private high schools in the greater Minneapolis area.
What We Do
The Zimmerman Booster Club would like to thank the many volunteers currently involved, now and from the past. It takes many volunteers coming together to make a difference.
As a Booster Club we are interested in any ideas you may have to better our student’s experiences here at Zimmerman middle school and high school.
Getting involved in your school through the Booster Club is fun and a great way to meet other adults and faculty. We are always looking for people to help with ideas and the planning of Booster Club activities. Everything we do benefits the students of our school and community. We support our Academics, Arts and Athletics. Come check out what we are up to!
Booster Club meetings are always the 2nd Monday of each month, except when there is no school that day. Then it will be the following Monday. Meetings are at 7:00 in the ZHS media center. Please Come and Check It Out!
We are always interested in your thoughts, please come to any meeting and help make a difference.
Mike Crego - email
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