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alumni news

World-class athletes graduate with top honors in San Jose

As they graduated with the two top honors of the Winter Quarter ’15 class at Palmer’s San Jose campus, the medallions that Syl Corbett, valedictorian, and Melissa Hoar, salutatorian, received for their outstanding achievements symbolized the same degree of dedication and hard work the duo has invested in their elite athletic endeavors.

Dr. Melissa Hoar competing in skeleton
Action shot of Dr. Hoar on her sled during a turn

As a member of the Canadian team competing in the 2010 Snowshoe World Championships, a “showcased” sport held in conjunction that year with the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., Syl Corbett, D.C., completed a grueling 10K course of steep ascents and descents on Grouse Mountain in just over an hour.

As a member of the Australian team at the Winter 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., Melissa Hoar, D.C., competed in the sliding sport of skeleton, in which riders rocket down the winding, frozen track, their face protected by the shield of their helmet just inches above the ice.

Dr. Syl Corbett competing in a Canada ultramarathon
Dr. Corbett running up rocky terrain

This is done at bone-jarring forces up to 5g and speeds approaching 90 mph, en route to completing the 1,450-meter course in less than a minute.

“My sense of pride (in graduating as valedictorian) is collective, something that extends much further than any individual honor,” says Dr. Corbett, a native of Canmore, Alberta, Canada. She earned a bronze medal in the 2010 Snowshoe World Championships, and became interested in chiropractic as a career when an injury she suffered while running responded well to the adjustments she received as part of her rehabilitative care.

“I’m grateful to be part of a phenomenal graduating class, and I take tremendous pride in what everyone in our class has accomplished,” she adds. Dr. Corbett has been a member of the Canadian National Elite Triathlon and Duathlon teams; was the overall female winner of the Calgary, Cochrane, Big Sur, Powderface 42, and Ft. Lauderdale marathons at least once (and sometimes twice!) in the past five years; and remains active in various international mountainrunning races.

Adds Dr. Hoar, “I’m extremely proud to graduate with honors, because all my life, I placed my education second to my athletic activities—until coming to Palmer, and really was inspired, because I loved what I was learning.” She began competing in skeleton in 2005, and credits chiropractic care for helping her recover from hamstring and hip injuries suffered from years of competing on the World Cup tour.

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