By Todd Messelt Sun Newspapers
(Created 9/6/00 10:04:11 AM)
When her friends at South View Middle School ask 13-year-old Lana Bolin what she did during her summer vacation, she can tell how she won five gold medals, broke three world records and brought home the coveted Flamingo Award in the sport of women’s joggling.
Although some of Lana’s peers might have a clue as to what she is talking about, others need further explanation.
Lana won the accolades at the 53rd annual International Juggler’s Association (IJA) Festival in Montreal, Canada, conducted Aug. 1 to 5.
Lana, Juggling coach Paul Arneberg, and 10 other performers who are enrolled in Edina’s Jugheads Juggling Company virtually took the competition by storm.
The bulk of Lana’s awards were for her skill in ‘joggling,’ the sport of juggling three balls while running as fast as possible, Arneberg explained. During the IJA’s World Joggling Championships, Lana set two world records.
In the 100-meter joggle, Lana broke the world record she had set the year before with a time of 14.96 seconds. New to this year’s competition was the 200-meter joggle, which she won as well, also setting a world record.
She was part of the Edina joggling relay team that took a gold medal and set the world record in the women’s 400-meter relay. Kelsey Deutsch, 14, Hayley Fix, 13, and Erica Randall, 13, rounded out the gold medal relay team.
Arneberg explained that joggling requires a mix of athletic prowess and ability, noting that the juggling burden adds a mere five percent to a runner’s best time.
“They teamed up to joggle a mile in 5:38,” Arneberg said. “These girls are state-class athletes in traditional sports, but they can also juggle five to seven balls each. Give them only three and a good track, and they clock faster times than most people could achieve less the juggling.”
As if five gold medals and three world records weren’t enough for Lana, she also brought home IJA’s Flamingo Award for being a girl “with outstanding potential in the art and sport of juggling,” Arneberg said.
Reserved for girls, the Flamingo Award was created by the Pink Flamingo Club, a women’s club that advocates for women, children and families in juggling, an activity traditionally dominated by men, Arneberg said.
“It was really kind of a big thing,” said Lana of the Flamingo prize. “I was kind of awestruck. I was really surprised.”
Lana is the second Edinan to earn the Flamingo Award, following in the footsteps of Elizabeth Sanburg, who brought the prized bird home in 1996 at the age of 12.
Lana, who has been juggling for four years, said she practices juggling six hours a day, five days a week during the summer. During the school year, she juggles school, band, sports and homework with about six hours of juggling each week.
“She’s worked very hard,” said her father Brad, who chaperoned the Jugheads trip to Montreal. “She dives head first – when she gets into something. She goes all out.”
“She’s a world class joggler,” Arneberg said. “She’s a very versatile performer, whether solo, duet, trio, quintet or in several of our larger group routines.”
Arneberg didn’t leave Montreal without an award of his own. He was honored with the IJA’s 10th annual Excellence in Education Award, which he received for his work with Twin Cities jugglers ages 8 to 16.
Arneberg refused to take all the credit for his award.
“This program would not thrive – or even exist – without the support of my wife, Wendy, and an amazing core of trusting parents,” he said.
Dan Berman, 13, and Peter Frey, 14 – a duo who call themselves the Propellerheads – also brought some medals home from the IJA Festival.
Although they entered the Team Championship preliminaries at the last minute, they succeeded in capturing third in the finals by juggling three to eight clubs to music.
Although he was surprised at the boys’ success in their first stage competition, Arneberg said, he credits it to years of hard work and extensive performing.
“Besides award-winning juggling skills, Pete and Dan have great stage personalities,” Arneberg said.
“[Dan and Peter] are as comfortable with comedy sketches as they are
with eight-club passing – that’s rare among teenagers,” Arneberg said.