Until recently, Lindsay Ball didn’t think of herself as a role model. Ball has Reninitis Pigmentosa, an eye disease which is slowly blinding her. The disease hasn’t stopped Ball from skiing competitively. In January, Ball won the U.S. Visually Impaired National Championship in the Giant Slalom at Waterville Valley, N.H.

“I guess I never viewed myself as a role model, but now that I think about it, I guess people can look at what I’ve done and see me as one,” said Ball, 19, of Benton.

Likewise, Cassidy Dangler, 15, of Waterville, became a role model just by being herself. When she was 10, Dangler became the youngest person to earn a black belt from the Club NAHA dojo at the Alfond Youth Center. Now she is a Sensei, teaching karate to younger children.

“I love teaching all the kids in the dojo, but it’s no secret that I feel a special bond with the girls,” Dangler wrote to Hardy Girls, Healthy Women. “I don’t want them to be intimidated by the fact that karate is considered a boys sport. I want them to watch me and think ‘I want to do that!’ “

Ball and Dangler are among the five young women who will be honored by Hardy Girls, Healthy Women with Girls Rock Awards this weekend.

Ball is the winner of the Against the Odds award. Dangler is being honored in the Title IX Champion category.

The Hardy Girls, Healthy Women Girls Rock Awards will be presented on Friday in the Fireside Lounge of the Randall Student Center at the University of Maine at Augusta. The ceremony is scheduled from 5:30-7 p.m.

“I think it’s a great organization,” Ball said. “I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Along with Ball and Dangler, awards will be presented to Caroline Jacobs, 15, of Shapleigh, in the health advocacy category; Rae Jean Robinson, 18, of Dexter, for community organizing; and Josephine Cotton, 13, of Bremen, for entrepreneurship.

According to Hardy Girls, Healthy Women’s web page, 37 girls from across Maine were nominated for Girls Rock Awards.

The Giant Slalom national title was a bit of a surprise to Ball, who had taken a year off from racing while a freshman at Middlebury College.

“It was nice to know I’ve still got it,” Ball, now a student at the University of Maine at Farmington, said from Aspen, Colo., where she competed this week.

To earn her black belt, Dangler underwent three days of testing which included a 5-mile run in the rain, training while standing in cold lake water, a written exam, 3,000 push ups, 3,000 sit ups, a 40-lap swim and 21 rounds of fights with 21 black belts.

“I always want to push myself harder. When I am paired with a boy in karate class (which is the majority of the time) for fighting, judo, self-defense, etc… I can always tell when they are going easy on me because I am a girl and I am small,” Dangler wrote. “Most of the time this happens and I immediately tell them to not go easy on me.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]


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