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Balancing act

Balancing act

Jan 6, 2006

Jeffrey Haladik has had a busy year balancing engineering school with competing on the U.S. Ski Team-D.

Olympic ski dreams have taken a back seat to academics for Kettering freshman Jeffrey Haladik, of Clarkston. The Mechanical Engineering major has been skiing competitively since the age of ten, and is currently a member of the U.S. Ski Team-Developmental class, competing in the Mid-American Cup Series.

"If I had improved my skiing this season I may have been able to make it to the C-Team," Haladik said, which would have put him in the Europa Cup Series. "Some of the C-Team skiers get picked for the Olympic ski team," he said.

But studies come first. It would be tough to improve my skiing this year because of Kettering's academic demands," Haladik said. He still manages to compete on a national level on weekends with a little flexibility from professors and some strategically placed holiday breaks.

He has also worked with his future co-op employer American Axel in Rochester Hills, Mich., to flex his work schedule to allow for traveling to ski competitions. "I'm having so much fun skiing I can't give it up yet," Haladik said, "so I'm trying to balance work, school and skiing right now."

While skiing still pulls on his heart, engineering keeps him on course. I could have gone to a university with a ski team but they didn't have engineering programs," he said. "Career-wise I know I can't make as much skiing as I can as an engineer," he added. Haladik chose Kettering because of the co-op program.

He had been accepted at both Georgia Technological University and Kettering, and chose Kettering for two reasons; "Georgia Tech had some co-op and internships, but not as structured as the program at Kettering, and in Michigan I could still ski," he said. It didn't hurt that his maternal grandfather, Walter Stanley, was a 1958 graduate of Kettering/GMI.

Haladik raced in Colorado over the Thanksgiving break, where he crashedgoing 66 miles per hour down the ski run and cracked his ski. His new skis are on order from the manufacturer in Austria so he won't miss out on this year's season. He races in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events.

While skiing won't be a career, Haladik is enjoying competing. He has trained on a glacier in Canada with the Canadian National Ski Team, raced in Colorado with members of the German and Italian national ski teams and met competitors from all over the globe.

As academic demands increase, Haladik will have to get very good at juggling skiing and school, or take his father's advice and concentrate on the studies. For now he's just looking forward to the new skis and the next competition in Wisconsin.

Written by Dawn Hibbard