In top photo, Noah Pereira is pictured with his sled dog team. Above, the Brockport High School junior is surrounded by members of the school’s Triple Voices choir, who sang him a special welcome-home song during a ceremony in his honor Monday at the high school. He’s the first non-Alaskan ever to win the 150-mile race.
TOP PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE PEREIRA FAMILY; PHOTO ABOVE BY SHAWN DOWD/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Junior Iditarod champion Noah Pereira receives warm welcome at Brockport High School after win in Alaska
Meaghan M. McDermott
BROCKPORT — As any good musher knows, you’ll only go as far as your dogs’ feet will take you.
That’s largely why Noah Pereira only got 20 minutes of sleep during his mandated 10- hour rest stop during the Junior Iditarod sled dog race, held Feb. 23 and 24 in Anchorage, Alaska.
After checking the 40 paws of his 10dog team for injuries, and applying ointments and protective booties, there wasn’t much time left over to get a fire going, melt snow and thaw out the dog food.
“And when it’s 40-below and your hands are frozen, it takes even longer,” said Noah, a junior at Brockport High School.
But despite the cold and lack of sleep, Noah persevered, becoming the first non-Alaskan ever to win the 150-mile race. It took him actually running the last 10 miles of the race across Willow Lake, but he ultimately defeated friend and defending junior Iditarod champion Conway Seavey — son of 2004 Iditarod
champion Mitch Seavey.
On Monday, Pereira, 16, returned to his high school for the first time since he left for training in Alaska on Dec. 1.
In his honor, the school served Sno-cones in the main entry foyer at dismissal.
“My grandmother used to say to me ‘Lesli, the race is not given to the swift, it is given to he who endures to the end,’ ” said Brockport schools Superintendent Lesli Meyers. “And Noah, you endured to the end and were swift. We are really proud of you.”
Interested in dog handling since he was 10, Noah and his father Lou Pereira now have their own kennel in Brockport. And, Noah’s spent the past two years being coached by Dallas Seavey, winner of last year’s 1,049-mile Iditarod. Seavey even loaned Noah one of his dog teams for the junior race. “Noah never thought he’d win,” said his mom, Betsy Pereira. “And then to beat last year’s champion? He’s such a good kid.” Noah hopes to apply his winnings — a $6,000 scholarship — toward studying engineering. And, he has no plans of giving up running dogs and will likely continue mushing here in 5- or 10- mile sprint races. But whatever he does, he will have his family, community and friends standing with him. “I am so proud of him,” said friend James Treadwell, 18, enjoying a blue Sno-cone. “He’s a good kid and worked very hard. He earned this.”
Stephen Montfort, 16, agreed. “I think it’s amazing, and he did a great job.”
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“I am so proud of him. He’s a good kid and worked very hard. He earned this.”
Friend and classmate who was at Monday’s ceremony.