STACIE MANNELLA: WINS OLYMPIC/ PARALYMPIC FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE MONTH

CONGRATULATIONS STACIE! This article was published on the Randolph Reporter on February 22, 2016. Stacie is an exceptional person with an incredible willingness and determination. Chizel Fitness is not surprised with her accomplishments and we expect much much more to come. 

Chizel Fitness has trained Stacie for two years and know how hard she is willing to work and how she never hesitates to break her limits. We applaud you Stacie, you deserve this and so much more! 

 

"RANDOLPH TWP.- Fresh off winning Team USA’s Olympic/ Paralympic Female Athlete of the Month in January, local skier, Staci Mannella, reflected on her quick ascent as one of the nation’s best skiers.

Mannella, a lifelong resident of Randolph, who resides on Center Grove Road, was in Utah on Friday, Feb. 19, and just finished ski training.

She was getting ready to head to Colorado the next day to compete in the Alpine Skiing World Cup and to continue her training to hopefully make Team USA for the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The skier is currently a student at Dartmouth after graduating from Morris County School of Technology. She won the Female Athlete of the Month after winning four medals in two events and being the youngest U.S. alpine skier, at age 19, to capture a gold medal for Team USA in the 2016 IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup season opener.

Mannella was born with achromatopsia, a genetic eye condition that causes serious light sensitivity, poor visual acuity, and partial color blindness. She can only see up to three feet in front of her.

Even with her condition, Mannella learned to ski at a younger age than most children learn how to ride a bike. Mannella said she remembers starting to ski at age four, when her parents would take her to Windham Mountain in upstate New York, once a week. “After school on Fridays we would go and come back Sunday night,” said Mannella

“I was very young. I always tell people that skiing for me is like walking because I don’t remember learning to walk and don’t remember learning to ski.”

Mannella first learned to ski while being positioned between two instructors. After some time, she had an instructor right behind her who helped guide her. Now Mannella has a professional sight guide who skis in front of her and relays instructions through a two-way radio.

A sight guide is less of a supporting character and more of a team member to Mannella, as both can be medal candidates.

The downhill speed skier said she started getting serious about the sport when she was 12. She was able to train hard enough to make Team USA in the 2014 Sochi Paralympics, in Russia, when she was 17. Mannella was the youngest skier on the team.

After focusing five years on her life on making Team USA for the Sochi Paralympics, Mannella was left with a void. The shock of making the biggest stage wore off and her countless hours of training were cashed in. It was like she could finally afford the house of her dreams, and once she purchased it, she wasn’t sure what to fill it with.

“It kind of changed my perspective on things,” said Mannella of Sochi. “I got very hyper focused on Sochi. I spent a third of my life working towards getting there, and once I got there, I was like whoa, what do I do know.”

Mannella expressed that Sochi helped her appreciate the journey she has taken and currently takes as a Team USA skier. “It feels great to ski really fast,” said Mannella, who has been clocked going 55 mph.

“Some nights, I go out and I think, wow, I am so lucky to be able to ski everyday and do this.” Mannella said that once she stops having fun she’ll stop competing, but she’ll never stop skiing.

She is currently navigating through her journey with Sadie DeBaun, her new sight guide.

Mannella and DeBaun, who is a 17-year-old skier, have been living and training together in Utah, and will compete together in the World Cup finals this week in Aspen, Colo., from Feb. 24-26. Due to Dartmouth running in trimesters, Mannella is able to take the winter off and train the entire season.

Mannella said she and DeBaun are working out the kinks of a new guide and skier relationship. “We started skiing together in November. The biggest thing in a guide/athlete relationship is trust and communication. We have a very good relationship off the hill. We have similar personalities, and we are very close,” said Mannella, who expressed that her and DeBaun both take a calm approach to stress.

The new relationship has paid off with the four recent medals. Mannella also gave a lot of praise to her previous guide, Kim Seevers, her parents, and her mentor and fellow Team USA teammate, Danielle Umstead, for her recent success.

“It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get here, but if you really love the sport, it is fun and never gets old,” said Mannella."

Chizel Fitness is incredibly proud of Stacie! You go girl!!