2017-12-07 / Front Page

Graduate in third place for Swedish dog-sledding trip

By Sam Tunningley
810-452-2661 • stunningley@mihomepaper.com

FLUSHING – Anthony Wolbert has a shot at the opportunity of a lifetime.

He is one of 24 people in the United States currently competing for a weeklong dog-sledding trip to Sweden. While there, Wolbert plans to document his trip via video to give his students at Sturgis Middle School an inside glimpse into the Arctic. Only two people from North America are selected.

As of now, he is in third place in the United States and 36th in the world.

Wolbert grew up in Flushing, where he ran track and cross-country during the high school’s Big Nine conference years. He said running in the community is where his love for the outdoors and passion for sports came from. After graduating from Flushing in 2004, he attended Grand Valley State University, where he suffered an injury that left him unable to continue running. He has since taken a position at Sturgis Middle School where he doubles as a track officiate and science teacher.

Sturgis is a low-income area, and many of students come from households living below poverty line. The opportunity to show students it is possible to achieve a goal, and to use his trip for educational purposes, compelled Wolbert to begin turning his dream into a reality. He said the ideal plan is to orchestrate a question and-answer session with his students upon his return.

As an avid outdoorsman, Wolbert is said he is excited to embark on a journey in another country – although he is more accustomed to venturing out in warm weather.

“The cold is something I’m learning to love,” said Wolbert.

The last day to submit a vote is on Dec. 14, and the winner of the contest will be revealed the following day. Wolbert has created a personal page on Fjällräven Polar’s website, the host of the competition, complete with a three-minute video and biography.

As of Tuesday, Wolbert has over 2,000 votes. His page is available at polar.fjallraven.com under “Entries.”

The first Fjällräven Polar competition took place in 1997 – its purpose to offer nonprofessionals a chance to work and explore the Arctic with sledding experts.

“This would be a really cool opportunity – to go out there and represent North America,” said Wolbert.

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