Juneau-Douglas girls’ track and field senior co-captain Maya Rieselbach helped the Bears to another region title this past weekend, but with the state meet approaching and her prep career coming to a close, she is even more determined to finish strong. Rieselbach, who is in her fourth season running track at JDHS, competes in the 100-meter dash, the 200, the long jump, the 4-x-100 relay and 4-x-200 relay. She has an interest in the field of anatomy, plans to go to college in Maine after graduating and can be found riding her unicycle on trails by the glacier in her free time. The senior, who is a quarter Japanese, also spent two years of her childhood in Japan during what she called “a really great experience” that has given her a new perspective on life.
What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not running?
“I unicycle a lot. That’s my big hobby, and that’s how I spend most of my time outside of track to stay in shape. I learned how to unicycle for my ROPES project in eighth grade, and I’ve just been doing it ever since. It was something that I had seen other people do, and I just thought it would be cool to learn how. It’s ended up being really fun and thrilling, so I’ve kept with it. I also like hiking with friends, spending time outside, camping (and) things like that.”
Why did you decide to take up track in the first place?
“I’m not the most coordinated person ever, so I wanted to do something that didn’t require a lot of that. I’ve always liked to run and it was a great group of people, so I just decided to try it. I’ve stuck with it and improved a lot since freshman year.”
What are your academic interests?
“I like math and I’ve really enjoyed my anatomy class this year. I think it’s cool to see how the human body works on a really close-up level and see things that you don’t think about normally. It’s been really interesting and I’ve learned a lot from that class. I’m not sure what I want to study in the future, but I think something science-related would be cool.”
What’s your plan for after you graduate?
“I’m going to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. I applied there on a whim, not really knowing anything about it. But after I got in, I starting researching more about it. It’s a small school in a pretty rural area, and a lot about it really appeals to me. They have a great environmental studies and marine biology program there, and I really like the area and the people I met there.”
Talk about your experience of living in Japan for two years and the adjustments that had to be made.
“My dad applied for a teachers exchange program and got a two-year contract to teach English in a small town called Nishi-okoppe in northern Japan on the island Hokkaido. From fourth grade until part way through sixth grade, my family and I lived there. The two hardest parts of my life so far have been leaving Juneau and then coming back, because it’s a really drastic culture shock. I can’t even explain how different things were there and how hard it was for me to adjust. Then once I finally did adjust, having to come back was just as tough. I learned and saw so much while I was there that it’s made me look at everything in a completely different way. It just gives you a whole new perspective on life. It was a really great experience.”
What are your expectations for yourself and the team for the rest of the season?
“It was really exciting for both our boys and girls to get first in regions, but as far as state, I really don’t know. A lot of the schools up north have some really strong athletes, and we’re probably only going to take 10 to 15 kids. We’re going to have a pretty small team compared to past years, but we’ve done pretty well in the past.”