In July 2018, Wellington C. Mepham High School track coach Erin Rodin took a trip and a chance at a combine competition in Lake Placid, putting her running stamina and strength to the test on the bobsled course.
Her hard work earned Rodin a chance to train alongside 11 other women for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
Her previous career as a collegiate and high school sprinter made Rodin an “ideal candidate” for the team. Rodin applies a specific training set forth by the U.S. team’s coach on a daily basis — all while living with Lyme disease.
“Sometimes my joints are so stiff that we have to improvise the training in order to work the same muscle groups, but skipping training isn’t an option,” she said.
Additionally, the women travel to Lake Placid on select weekends to practice together.
While considered by the coach to be “a stand out in strength and running,” all 12 women are vying for a spot on the four-person bobsled team in the 2022 worldwide competition. Even the team members who earned a silver medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“We are told by coach that we are not heading to the Olympics until we are on that plane to China,” Rodin said, noting she is determined to earn herself a spot.
In her fourth year as coach for the Mepham track and field team, Rodin led the pack to their first Penn Relay in years.
“Several student athletes also saw outstanding personal records,” added Rodin, who is also a permanent substitute teacher at Grand Avenue Middle School. “It’s important to focus on the strengths of individual athletes in order to be successful as a teammate.”
A mantra she will put to good use in her bobsled training as well.
1-2) Mepham track coach Erin Rodin.
3) From left, track student-athletes Kevin Kazokas, coach Erin Rodin, James Novello and Alex Gross.
4) From left, track student-athletes Jess Tucci, coach Erin Rodin and Kayla Bourquin.
Photos courtesy of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District