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Teens sought for team challenge

Left to right, Jon Reimer, Mike Almond and Katie (Nummi) Perrault pose with the Nummi Cup at the Superior Douglas County Family YMCA April 3. The names of four champions -- two teen boys, two teen girls -- will be inscribed on it following the inaugural NYE Challenge, which takes place over five consecutive Wednesdays beginning May 9. Maria Lockwood

The gleaming Nummi Cup rested on the front counter of the Superior-Douglas County Family YMCA last week. By summer, the names of four champions will be inscribed there.

Talented teens age 13-16 are being sought to form teams of four — two girls, two boys — and go head-to-head in five weeks of challenges. They will shoot free throws, make long-distance hockey shots, tackle a 25-yard swimming relay, play pickleball and volleyball, sound off on trivia questions, and even dive into a pie-eating contest.

"Each event won't be dominated by the fastest, biggest strongest oldest," said Jon Reimer, aquatics and sports director. "We're designing it so the youngest, smallest, least experienced has essentially an equal chance."

Points collected by all four members will be added into each team's final tally.

"You don't want your team to have only one strength," said Katie (Nummi) Perrault, manager of Nummi Jewelers and creator of the cup. "It's teaching kids that everyone has a different ability that's very valued. And when you work together, you can do a lot."

The competition kicks off May 9 and runs through June 6. Teams compete 6-8 p.m. for five consecutive Wednesdays at the YMCA, facing two challenges a week.

The competition was created by Reimer and YMCA member Mike Almond, loosely modeled after the corporate olympics that were once held at the facility. It was named the NYE Challenge after Almond's school days in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"When I went to school, we didn't have any sports teams," Almond said.

Instead, they competed in mixed intramural teams.

"We played every sport with girls," Almond said, and ended up best friends.

Nicknamed "The New York Enforcers," they challenged each other, traveled the city facing other teams and ended up best friends.

"We're godfathers to each others' kids and we stay in touch almost every day," Almond said. "This is my tribute to them."

It's also an opportunity to get teens moving, exercising and competing on Wednesday nights.

"It's something fun and creative," Reimer said. "Let's get out of the house, have some fun and laugh with friends."

Perrault was tasked with creating a "big, bold" design for the trophy.

"The intent was something impressive to get students' attention," she said.

The shining silver Nummi Cup can be found resting on the front desk at the YMCA. Perrault encouraged local students to sign up for the inaugural challenge.

"It's everything that you loved as a kid, that's what I love about this," she said. "You know, everything from academics to strength to mind and body, and eating. No matter who you are, you will love 90 percent of what's going on."

The competition is free for YMCA members, $10 per child for non-members. The cost covers all five weeks of challenges and financial assistance is available to help families with the fee. Teens can register with a four-person team or as an individual player who will be placed on a team.

Almond said that if only two teams sign up, they'll run it with two. But the more, the better.

"We'd love to see that gym full," Reimer said.

Registration forms are available at the front desk of the YMCA. For more information visit www.superiorymca.org or the Superior YMCA Facebook page, call (715) 392-5611 or email jreimer@superiorymca.org.

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