New School Year, New Writers | 18 & Under Nov. 2011

By Gabe Allen and Madeline Murray-Clasen

Fall has arrived, and all around the state Vermonters are careening down bike trails, scaling crags, and taking their last swims in the chilly water. Soon winter will blanket the earth with snow, and we will trade our bikes and T-shirts for skis and jackets.

This fall also marks the start of a new year of Vermont Sports’ 18 & Under column. All around the state, young adventurers are making a lasting impression on the outdoor community. In this monthly column we will be writing about inspiring Vermont athletes under the age of 18, who are getting outside and doing something interesting. Madeline Murray-Clasen and I (Gabe Allen) will be replacing Chris Keller as columnists for 18 & Under. Here’s a little bit about us.
Gabe AllenGabe Allen, 17, Senior

Last year I spent a semester expeditioning through the high peaks and wet rainforests of Ecuador. I traveled with a group of 12 teens and two guides from Kroka expeditions, an outdoor living school based in Marlow, N.H. We had a wonderful and intense experience, and it cemented my bond with the wilderness. When I got back to the states, I found out that Chris Keller, a fellow Montpelierite, had written an article about our travels in Vermont Sports. After reading this article, I checked out a couple of the other 18 & Under articles. One article about a 13-year-old bouldering protégée especially caught my attention because I like to climb. When the time came for Chris to leave for college, I was asked to do some writing for 18 and Under, and I gladly accepted. I love to be outside, whether I’m climbing, canoeing, playing ultimate Frisbee, or playing music around a fire. There have been many teens that have inspired me to spend time outdoors over the years. I hope that we can share some of these inspirational stories with our readers and encourage people to adventure themselves.

Madline Murray-ClasenMadeline Murray-Clasen, 16, Junior

As a part of the Montpelier High School curriculum, students are strongly encouraged to take part in Community Based Learning activities, which are opportunities for kids to explore a variety of interests outside of a structured school environment. I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to write a bi-monthly column along with Gabe Allen in Vermont Sports magazine’s 18&U section!

First, though, a confession: I am not a traditional sports person. I am not on an MHS sports team. I don’t do triathlons, or even half-marathons. However, fitness is an extremely critical aspect of my life. I walk, hike, take yoga, do Pilates, and have studied and practiced many styles of dance for 11 years at a local dance studio.

I see my job in writing this column as broadening the perspective on sports and fitness, exposing the magazine to a wider range of readers. Maybe you’re not ready to run the Vermont City Marathon, run up Mount Mansfield, or compete in Vermont’s Spartan Beast, but reading about the fitness boot camp craze sweeping Vermont or our very own Dirt Divas, might just inspire you to get up and move. Since around 20 percent of Vermonters including kidsare considered overweight, there is no question we need to encourage people to get involved in sports and fitness activities. So I am gearing up for columns that will open up a world of fitness possibilities for all of us “non-sports” Vermonters. There is a lot out there for everyone. Let’s go exploring!

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