Mercyhurst Magazine Fall 2013

aluM SoaRS in tRee- CliMBing ConteStS if climbing trees gets you closer to heaven, as the old saying goes, Brian Krawczyk ’95 must be near paradise. after a decade in the hospitality industry, brian branched out into a new career as a certifed arborist, a calling that combines his love of nature and the outdoors with his natural athletic ability.

FoRMeR laKeR exCelS in inline hoCKeY a nasty concussion took a year-and-a-half bite out of Jackie Jarrell’s ice hockey career at mercyhurst, but she managed to fnd a silver lining in the disappointment. while she was rehabbing, she launched a new career in inline hockey. as a member of Team canada, she’s medaled at seven world championships, starting with a silver in her frst outing in 2006 and peaking with a gold in 2012 in colombia (she was the top scorer in the entire tournament). in 2010, Jackie earned mVp honors and scored the only goal as canada lost to the czechs in the gold medal game. her team – which also includes former laker teammates Michelle Bonello and Samantha Shirley – lost another close match to the united states in this year’s fnals in california. inline hockey is a very challenging game but does not have as much physical contact as ice hockey, Jackie explains. “inline hockey is more about puck control and puck possession, being a more spread-out game,” she says. “you don’t take the same pounding as you do in ice hockey.”Teams play 4-on-4 with no ofsides or icings. a forward from belleville, ontario, Jackie had a strong performance for the lakers in her freshman season, 2003-04, and was leading the team in scoring 10 games into her sophomore campaign when she was sidelined by injury. Told at frst she might never be able to return to physical activity, she beat the odds thanks to her own determination, some amazing doctors and strong support from her family and from the mercyhurst community. “i am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to still play hockey,” she says. inline hockey helped keep her in shape and she was cleared to return to the ice for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons. all told, she played 99 games for the hurst, scoring 21 goals and 18 assists. she fnished her degree in sports medicine in 2008. returning to canada, she earned an education degree and taught high school for a few years, while also working as a personal trainer, working primarily with athletes, and helping with her family’s business, rJ farms, a large dairy farm recognized for its excellence in breeding. last fall, Jackie came back to mercyhurst to pursue a master’s degree in exercise science. That meant long commutes from ontario to erie to pack all her course requirements into a single year. during that year, she attended and assisted at the nhl combine. despite the heavy academic load, she also made time for strenuous workouts in preparation for this year’s world championships. The canadian women play in men’s leagues in Toronto. “playing against the men helps us become quicker and stronger,” she says. while her goal is a career as a teacher and training high-level athletes, she also expects to skate for Team canada for years to come. The team already has its sights set on another gold medal at the 2014 world championships in france. and she hopes that one day her sport will fnd a home in the summer olympics or the pan- american games. Pictured with the silver medals they won at this year’s FIRS (Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports) World Championships are former Lakers Jackie Jarrell ‘08, Samantha Shirley-Harris ’06 and Michelle Bonello ‘07. Sam, who married Brad Harris on July 7, 2012, works as a sales manager for Adidas Group Canada; Michelle is training to become a frefghter. Both Sam and Michelle live in Mississauga, Ontario.

The speed, skill and precision he’s developed in his job with birchcrest Tree & landscape, located in the rochester, n.y. area, have propelled him to the top in competitive tree climbing circles. in June, he won the new york state Tree climbing championship for the fourth time, each win sending him on to the

international Tree climbing championship, sponsored by the international society of arboriculture. This year’s contest in Toronto in august brought together the best professional tree climbers from 19 countries. brian placed 12th among 44 entries. competitors perform fve events that test their ability to professionally and safely maneuver in a tree while efciently performing work-related tree-care tasks. brian says he entered primarily to learn more about his craft and to meet new friends, and was amazed when he captured his frst two state titles. even a debilitating accident couldn’t keep brian grounded for long. he was ice climbing atop frozen angel falls in upstate new york in march 2008 when he tumbled to the bottom of the gorge, breaking both ankles, his pelvis, two vertebrae and fve ribs and sufering internal injuries. he was bedridden for three months and spent several more months in full-time rehab – but in 2009 he not only competed again, but also won his third state title. That devastating free-fall was due to his own error, he concedes – he failed to do some routine safety checks that would have revealed the problem with his rigging. “because of that, everything i do now is safer. i double and triple check everything,” he says. with wife colleen and kids clare and Quinn waiting at home for him, that emphasis on safety is especially important. These days he doesn’t do much climbing except in his beloved trees, but he says he never contemplated giving that up. even when he feared he might lose his foot, he swore he’d fnd a way to climb again. “This is who i am. without it i’d be lost. i wouldn’t know who i was. Quitting just wasn’t an option,” he says.


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