For Juneau-Douglas athlete Nick Rutecki, performing at the highest level of sports is nothing new.
Rutecki, a four-year letterman in swimming and hockey, and a two-year letterman in both soccer and track, participated in three state championships this season - swimming, track and soccer.
Most recently was the state soccer tournament here in Juneau over the weekend. The Bears won the tournament for the fourth time in school history, and Rutecki said it was perhaps the most exciting moment as an athlete at Juneau-Douglas High School, though he said it is difficult to single out one moment in particular.
"I don't really have a favorite moment because I've liked a lot of things," he said. "But I liked winning state with the soccer team because everyone was really happy and it was a lot of fun."
With Rutecki's career at JDHS over (he graduated Monday), he will now look forward to attending the University of Wyoming in the fall, where he'll join the swim team while pursuing a degree in engineering.
Rutecki said he's looking forward to the competition.
"Dropping my times will be exciting, and I want to work hard again," he said. "I'm for sure looking forward to the competition. I like it when it's competitive."
Academically, Rutecki said he's always been interested in different aspects of the engineering field, and while at school he will pursue either civil or mechanical engineering.
"I want to end up working in renewable energy," he said. "That field really interests me because I like the wind, the elements and weather.
"I also like energy, too, and that field has that combination."
Rutecki said he's always been interested in science while a student at Juneau-Douglas, especially while in Johnathan Smith's class.
"For three years I was in his class, and he's definitely the best teacher I've ever had," Rutecki said. "His class was always my favorite. He gets you really interested in it, and he also teaches you life skills, like how to deal with being part of a business."
Rutecki's work in the classroom is equally as impressive as his performance in the arena of sports. In his high school career, Rutecki was an Honor Roll student all four years, was named to the JDHS All-Scholastic High School Hockey Team every year, and he was a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American in 2008-09. On top of that, he was chosen as the class of 2010's commencement speaker, and in 2009 he won the Best Genetics Study award at the Southeast science fair.
His interests do not end in the classroom or in high school sports. Rutecki is currently getting himself in shape for ridge-running around Juneau.
"It's just running along the mountain ridges. Hiking peaks is cool, but covering a lot of terrain and seeing a lot more is a lot cooler," he said. "If you run up a mountain and don't stop until you get to the top, you feel so good."
That isn't the only outdoor sport Rutecki enjoys. He is also an avid kiteboarder.
"I've been doing it for a year, and I've been doing it in the wetlands," he said. "When it's really sunny out and there's a weather system sitting over us, the glacier gets really windy because of the convection current.
"It's pretty cool, and, for me, it's really relaxing."
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