Pitman graduate takes on 'Amazing Race'

mrowland@modbee.comSeptember 2, 2013 

    alternate textMarijke Rowland
    Title: Arts & Entertainment Writer
    Coverage areas: Fine arts, pop culture and other entertainment throughout the Central Valley and foothills.
    Bio: Marijke Rowland has been a reporter at The Bee for 15 years. She grew up in the Midwest and has a degree in journalism from Indiana University. She has covered several beats at The Bee from education to entertainment to employment.
    Recent stories written by Marijke
    On Twitter: @marijkerowland
    E-mail: mrowland@modbee.com

— A 23-year-old Pitman High graduate and former Turlock resident will be a contestant on the CBS globe-trotting reality hit, "The Amazing Race."

Allison "Ally" Mello will be among 11 teams vying for the $1 million prize on the new season of the series, which premières Sept. 29. Mello will be paired with her fellow L.A. Kings Ice Crew teammate Ashley Covert, 25, for the show.

Mello joined the L.A. Kings Ice Crew for the 2012-13 hockey season. Each National Hockey League team has an ice crew that helps to clean the ice during TV timeouts and pump up the crowd. Crew members also make promotional and charity appearances for the team.

Mello graduated from Pitman High in 2008 and California State University, Long Beach, in 2012 with a degree in communication studies. In her official biographical information for CBS, Mello said she is most proud of graduating from CSU, Long Beach, with honors while working to support herself.

"I went from living in the small community of Turlock to pursuing my childhood dreams in Southern California," she said in her bio. "I worked hard, stayed focused and I'm very proud of the choices I made."

Competing against Mello and Covert on the 23rd installment of "The Amazing Race" will be a sporty bunch that includes two former NFL teammates, two wives of Major League Baseball players, a sports marketer and his fitness instructor ex-wife, married ER doctors and theater performers.

Contestants will travel through four continents and nine countries, spanning more than 35,000 miles. According to CBS, their missions will have them para-gliding above the skies over Chile, plunging into bone-chilling water in Norway and buckling up for Formula One racing in Abu Dhabi.

Mello will be following in the racing footsteps of fellow Central Valley contestant Meghan Camarena, who competed last season on the show. The 25-year-old Modesto-raised YouTube star competed with another YouTube personality. They made it to the final five teams and were eliminated a week before the finale. The winning team last season consisted of two former professional hockey players.

The acclaimed show has won the Emmy for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program nine times in the past 10 years, and is nominated for its 10th Emmy in this category.

In her CBS bio, Mello describes herself as "vivacious, creative and driven." While at Pitman High, she participated in sports and also several school theater productions. Since moving to Southern California, she has modeled and appeared in commercials and small roles on television.

Members of the Ice Crew make more than 400 appearances a year and perform at least twice a week in the Staples Center during the NHL season.

Mello said in her profile video for "The Amazing Race" that being on the Ice Crew has exposed them to all sorts of different people and cultures.

"I think that being out in different cultures, we will be able to communicate with people really well, and some other teams may not," she said. "We're looking at this with positive minds and realizing we're going to have to work together every step of the way. Stop and breathe and think about things thoroughly before we jump into anything."

While Mello and Covert work together on the L.A. Kings Ice Crew, they met earlier at CSU, Long Beach. In her own CBS bio, teammate Covert described Mello as a mix between country singer Carrie Underwood and Olympic beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor. "She's an all-American country girl, but when it comes to sports, Ally is a true gold medalist," she said.

"The Amazing Race" will première at 8 p.m. Sept. 29 on CBS.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on www.twitter.com/ turlocknow.

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