WCA Profiles in Courage
The WCA Profiles in Courage awards are dedicated to Nancy Nakahara, who coached volleyball and basketball in Lyman, before serving as Athletic Director.
The Profiles in Courage award was first presented at the 1999 State Track Meet. The purpose of this award is to recognize young athletes who have had to overcome adversity in order to fulfill their athletic dreams – things like disabilities, illnesses, and tragedies. This is dedicated to Nancy Nakahara, who coached volleyball and basketball in Lyman, before serving as Athletic Director. Nancy had a long fight with Polymiocitis, a disease similar to MS. Nancy also helped announce the State Track meet as well as serving at various other sporting events.
This year’s recipients include:
Brian Hinman from Laramie parents Toni and Dirk.
Colton Gillum from Natrona parents Linda and Shawn.
Clay Trehella from Sundance parents Nancy and Neil.
Jasmine Pemble from Cheyenne parents Debra and James.
Emily Lesmeister from Thermopolis parents Pat and Lee.
Ana Cook from Cokeville Debbie and Scott.
Brian Hinman’s intelligence is sharp, his humor is quick, and he never misses practice or meets. A proud member of the Laramie Plainsman swimming team, his work ethic is second to none. Brian has a little more work to do than his teammates, since he has TAR (Thrombocytopenia with Absent Radius) – a blood disorder where his bone marrow can’t produce platelets and has a hard time clotting. But because of this, he has become a huge inspiration to his team. In Brian’s words, “I just come up against obstacles, push past them and learn to deal with it. A long time ago, I told myself I can do anything anyone else can do. I have to work four times harder, but I’m like everyone else with some bragging rights. The team says if I don’t bleed, then the team is not doing well. So we have a saying, ‘twice the blood, twice the length for twice the man.’” His coach Tom Hudson adds: “He is very inspirational to the other guys. When they start feeling aches or pains or sorry for themselves, they look over at Brian and how hard he tries. It just makes them go even harder.”
Colton Gillum is good at proving people wrong. The Natrona County senior also tests the limits of what people with Cystic Fibrosis can do. CF is a disease that affects the digestive and respiratory tracts in people, resulting in respiratory infections. Colton has had stress fractures, bone injuries, mononucleosis, bronchitis, numerous bouts of strep, pneumonia, and nasal pollups. Ever since contracting the disease at age 2, Colton has fought against the odds, including going against his doctors thoughts that he wouldn’t be able to compete in sports. In Colton’s words, “when they told me it would be harder for me than anyone else, I just wanted to prove that I wasn’t any different.” If anything, Gillum has proved that he’s better. Colton’s dad and NC boys’ basketball coach Shawn says, “he’s a special kind of person not to accept boundaries that have been placed on him. We draw a lot of inspiration from him.” So far, Colton’s success has been amazing, as he ran a 1:58.26 in the 800 at regionals. He also finished second in the 3200 with a 9:40.16.
Clay Trehella wasn’t feeling well at Christmas time of 2007. During his sports physical he asked a doctor about a lump in his groin area and she said nothing about it, so he just thought he’d been hurt rough-housing with his brothers. But as time went by, the lump was still there, and he wasn’t feeling right, so he went to another doctor in January of 2008. The doctor diagnosed Clay with lymphoma, and he immediately had surgery for a biopsy on the lump and to have a medi-port put in. His final diagnosis was ALL – Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and his bone marrow had 80% cancer cells. After three years of chemotherapy and many trips to Denver for treatment, Clay went into remission in September of 2011, and he’s doing well today. He ran a 12:25 in the 3200 and was a part of the 3200 relay team that placed 8th at State Track.
Jasmine Pemble is a student-athlete at Cheyenne Central High School. On February 8th, 2012, Jasmine suffered a brain aneurism while warming up for a basketball game. She was evaluated in Cheyenne but then immediately moved to Denver for emergency surgery. Jasmine remained in ICU for fifteen days and then stayed in the hospital for another week after that. Then, she was out of school for a total of four weeks during her recovery. Despite the possibility of another similar event, Jasmine was cleared to compete in Track and Field this year in April. On Thursday at State, Jasmine went 15’9” in long jump.
Emily Lesmeister moved to Thermopolis and took off as a great athlete, especially excelling in track and field. As a freshman, Emily was a state runner up in the long jump and ran on two relays and the open 200 at state. Then, in August of 2010, Emily’s life faced a huge setback with the death of her brother Sam. Then in January of 2011, she was driving in a blizzard with terrible conditions, when her vehicle rolled three times and she was ejected. She was found in a ravine by a passing motorist and taken the to the hospital where she was treated for internal bleeding, a lacerated liver, a collapsed lung, and a broken hip. Her body temperature was 91 degrees. Emily recovered well, while being concerned that she was letting her team down during the process. She is a very good student with a 3.75 GPA. She was a member of the volleyball team and was elected Homecoming Queen by her peers. She did well in indoor track and is in the midst of a great State Track Meet as well. On Thursday, she placed 2nd in the Long Jump with an impressive jump of 16’ 9 ½ inches. Then she came back Friday where she was 2nd in the triple jump and 6th in the high jump.
Ana Cook was a starter on the volleyball and basketball team her junior year in Cokeville. After the basketball season, she had an operation to straighten out her leg, where the doctors literally broke her leg in order to place a rod inside and straighten it. Two months later, she got very sick while on a trip to Washington D.C. and returned to a diagnosis of a staff infection. Therefore, she had to heal up, repeat the entire surgery, and fight off the staff infection. Because of this, her senior year sports were in jeopardy. While she was unable to compete, she served as a manager and helped the team to win a state championship in volleyball. In basketball, despite her leg still not healing correctly, Ana never gave up, always made it to practice, and did whatever her coach asked of her. In track and field, she continues to work hard and has been a great example of work ethic to her teammates. She ran first leg of the Cokeville 4x100 team that ran this year at state.