State champion skier Amy Barber to be inducted into Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame
April 10, 2018
Editor's note: This is the second installment of a 17-part series chronicling the 2018 Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame inductees. Check back to The Union sports pages each day for a new profile on a Nevada Union legend.
Carving down a snowy mountain on a pair of skis is how Amy Barber finds her "happy place."
"It's beautiful and you get to travel to fun places," Barber said. "No matter where you go it's a fun experience. Racing is fun, but skiing all over the mountain is probably the most fun."
Nowadays alpine skiing is a way for Barber to relieve stress and spend quality time with her family.
When she was in high school, it was a way for her to forge lifelong friendships, beat the boys and earn plenty of accolades.
"The high school team was a good group of friends and also a way to ski for your community," Barber said. "The team was a lot of my best friends growing up. It was fun to ski with them, free ski with them, race with them and win championships with them."
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Barber, a 1995 Nevada Union graduate, is the only skier in school history to claim four straight California-Nevada Interscholastic Ski Federation State Championships, winning the individual combined (slalom and giant slalom) title in 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995. She also helped her Miners squad win the state championship as a team in 1994.
For her achievements in alpine skiing, as well as her efforts in water polo, Barber is being inducted into the Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame April 28.
Barber comes from a family of skiers and took to racing at an early age. In addition to her accomplishments at the high school level, she also qualified for the Junior Olympics in 1993 as well as the Western Regional Championships in 1995 and many other prestigious races.
When Barber looks back on her time competing for the Miners ski team, one memory sticks out among the rest — the time she beat the boys at the state championships.
"Rarely the girls and boys ski on the same race course, but our sophomore year for giant slalom at the state meet we skied on the same course and I beat all the boys too," she recalled. "That stuck out. As a girl, you always want to beat the boys and that was one of the times that stuck out because I always wanted to beat the boys."
Barber wasn't just a one sport star, though, she also excelled in the pool with the girls water polo team.
"It was a fun thing to do — as someone who likes ball sports and was a swimmer — it was the perfect combination for me," she said.
Barber played on the girls water polo team for three years and was a captain her senior year, which was the first year a Nevada Union girls water polo team played in a Sac-Joaquin Section sanctioned league. Barber and the Miners won the Capitol Athletic League championship that year.
"That was fun," she said. "We won the league. We traveled all over and played in a bunch of tournaments. It was a fun group of girls, and it was nice to break some ground and make it more popular."
In addition to being an impressive athlete Barber was a strong student, posting high grades throughout her time at Nevada Union and serving as the senior class president. She earned an academic scholarship to the University of Nevada, Reno, where she also competed for three years on its Division I ski team.
After earning her degree in biology at UNR, Barber went on to receive a Master's of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Midwestern University. She currently works in the health care field locally.
Barber is happily married to Jamie Barber and has two kids. Skiing is still a big part of Barber's life as well. She coaches for the Northstar Ski Team from time to time and enjoys watching her two children, Evi, 11, and Walker, 8, compete in youth ski racing.
Barber recently utilized the sport she loves to help her get through a trying health issue. Barber recently battled breast cancer and used skiing as a way to persevere.
"It was my goal to ski through every chemotherapy if I could do it," Barber said. "People would ask if I had a support group and I would say, 'no, but I go skiing every Sunday,' Whether I could make just a run or two, I had to do it."
Barber is recovering from her bout with breast cancer, noting that she is doing much better.
She added that it is an honor to be inducted as a member of the 2018 Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame Class, and expressed gratitude for her parents, Rick and Terry Atkins, and her brother, Aaron Atkins, for all the support they have given her over the years.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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