Penn State Alaska Native Recalls Palin As 'hockey Mom'

This story was written by Mandy Hofmockel, Daily Collegian
In the days before the general election, Penn StatejuniorAustin Manelick recalled memories of his former "hockey mom" before she was the first woman to be named a Republican vice presidential candidate.

Manelick plans to vote for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin a woman he calls "dead sexy" in her race for the White House, saying he trusts and supports the candidate.

Manelick shared the ice with Palin's son Track when on the same hockey team before going their separate ways to play against each other later in high school. Manelick, of Palmer, Alaska, said the candidate's son looked after his teammates.

During her time as a "hockey mom," Palin coordinated practices, handled finances and attended every practice, he said.

Palin was always moving at "a million miles per minute" and stayed at the top of her game, never slacking, he said.

"I never heard any complaints or anything like that," he said. "There's a lot more to being an Alaskan mom than people know."

Track played for Wasilla High School and Manelick played for rival Colony High School, he said.

"I don't know what she did to her son," Manelick said, adding Track Palin "was one of the meanest dudes on the ice."

When Palin was nominated to be the Republican Party's candidate for vice presidenct, Manelick said his mother called him.

"I was like 'You have got to be kidding me,'" he said. "The only thing I've been able to tell people is it blew my mind."

When the candidate reached him in line after her speech in Penn State's Rec Hall Tuesday, she shook his hand and hugged him, he said.

When Todd Palin tailgated with Penn State Students for John McCain and College Republicans in October, Manelick, a rugby player for Penn State, brought moose meat for the occasion.

The moose was shot on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, when Manelick guided a fellow rugby player, Jon Dykes, who shot the animal on a hunt last summer, he said.

Dykes said he had never been to Alaska or hunted moose before last summer when he went out hunting with Manelick for 10 days.

Dykes said after his trip to Alaska and the moose hunt, he thinks of Sarah Palin, a moose hunter, as a stronger person.

"It helps me kind of understand who she is as a person," he said.

Andrew Natalo, president of the Penn State Students for John McCain said he didn't expect the moose meat at the Homecoming tailgate, and the gesture brought home that a Palin was there.

"Honestly, I think it was just an amazing capstone to the whole event," he said.

Natalo said Manelick's presence showed there are more people out there like the Palins.

A Republican, Manelick said he was in favor of presidential candidate John McCain "from the get go," but he liked attributes of both candidates and didn't want his personal agenda to get in the way of what is right for the country.

But when Palin was named, doubt was erased from his mind, he said.

"When she looks at you, she looks you in the eyes sincerely and listens to what you have to say," he said.
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