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Tim Miguel | California Athletics | February 16, 2017

Former Cal lacrosse player credits lessons learned as a Golden Bear help her as Olympic skier

  Allison Welsh credits lessons she learned at Cal with helping her strive for the Olympics in half-pipe skiing.

Former lacrosse student-athlete Allison Welsh has become quite the juggler since graduating from Cal.

No, not in the literal sense of tossing multiple objects in the air. Instead, Welsh finds herself quite busy these days vying to compete in the Winter Olympics and the X Games as a halfpipe skier and enjoying a career as a freelance marketer, all while also coaching a club lacrosse team in Denver.

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"As a student-athlete at Cal, perfecting the art of balancing the workload of academics and athletics is something I am beyond grateful for," Welsh said. "I have certainly chosen an unconventional career path, so the ability to balance and adjust is absolutely non-negotiable."

Transitioning from a competitive team sport to an individual one has been an adjustment for Welsh, and she credits her time as a Golden Bear to building her ability to feel prepared and empowered to fervently pursue her dreams.

After multiple knee surgeries, Welsh was forced to give up playing lacrosse. Still brimming with competitive hunger, she turned to skiing to fill the hole in her life after watching X Games gold medal half-pipe skier, Jen Hudak. The pair now shares a coach in Elana Chase.

"Being able to pursue my passion as an action-sport athlete, traveling the world and keeping lacrosse a part of my life has been wildly rewarding," Welsh said. "I have endured some bone-crushing crashes attempting tricks I know I am capable of but also aware of how impossible they can be.

"The moments of breakthrough where you put your feet down and land a trick that has continued to beat you, that's an incredibly rewarding feeling."

Welsh remains connected in the lacrosse world, as well, coaching for Team 180, a premier girls' lacrosse club in Colorado. As much as she enjoys skiing, lacrosse will always be her first love and remaining in the lacrosse community is a priority. She stays in contact with many of her players and spends time traveling to the East Coast to recruiting tournaments with high school teams during the summer when she takes a break from skiing.

As active as she is striving to be an Olympian and coaching lacrosse, being a freelance marketer has proven to be a good fit. Because she is on the road 11 months a year, she has the flexibility to build websites and manage social media accounts wherever she can get online.

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The experience Welsh gained as a student-athlete at Cal has been crucial to her success. Rushing from practice to class to workouts with her teammates is something she said she'll always treasure.

"It takes hard work to be a student-athlete at Cal, but at the end of the day, that hard work made it all worthwhile," Welsh said. "It was easy to get caught up in the hurdles every now and again, but some mornings before practice started, while the stadium was still dark and the team was still in the locker room, I loved standing on the field just to take in how incredible everything was. I should have done more of that."

Spare time might be the only thing Welsh doesn't have going for her these days, but that can come later, hopefully after her Olympic dreams come true.

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