When 15-year-old Hannah Halvorsen filled out the “Nutrition” section of her Goal Setting Worksheet at the beginning of her sophomore year at Sugar Bowl Academy, she pledged to herself that she would do the following:
“Leave room on my plate during lunch for the salad bar” and “eat salad every day.”
Under “Conditioning Goals,” Halvorsen’s short-term performance goals were “to push myself above and beyond.” Finally, under “Dream Athletic Goal,” she listed “To travel the world skiing.”
She will soon do just that.
After posting impressive results against the best competition in the country at U.S. Nationals, Halvorsen and Far West Nordic teammate Peter Holmes, a senior at North Tahoe High School and a member of the Unleashed Coaching club, were named to the U.S. Scandinavian Cup Nordic Ski Team.
They are among 12 athletes (six girls and six boys) who will travel to Finland for a series of races later this month.
“I had been working hard towards this goal for a long time,” Halvorsen said. “I look at this as an incredible opportunity and as another step in the right direction towards future goals to come.”
For her coach and Sugar Bowl Academy school advisor, Caitlin Curran, it is Halvorsen’s focus and work ethic that has helped her succeed at the highest levels of competition in the Nordic ski-racing world.
“I am very proud of Hannah, not only for earning a spot on this year’s U18 trip to Europe, but mainly for all the focused work that she put in throughout the year to meet this goal,” said Curran, who accompanied Halvorsen recently to race at U.S. Nationals in Soldier Hollow, Utah.
Halvorsen’s results under adverse health conditions in Soldier Hollow — combined with her results in other early-season races — were strong enough to qualify her to represent her country in Finland.
“It is pretty remarkable that Hannah qualified for the U.S. U18 World Championship team, as she is only 15 and was racing against the best 16- and 17-year-olds in the country,” said Sugar Bowl Academy assistant Nordic coach Jeff Schloss. “The Far West Division has had several other athletes qualify for this team over the last 15 years, but I think Hannah is the first 15-year-old that we have sent on this trip. It is very exciting and there is no one more deserving than Hannah. She works so hard.”
Kara LaPoint, head Nordic coach at North Tahoe, said she is thrilled about Holmes’ selection, as he also has had his sights set on the Scandinavian Cup for years.
“It is really great to see all of his hard work, focus, leadership and dedication coming to fruition in having achieved this goal, and it really couldn’t have happened to a more deserving young athlete,” LaPoint said. “Peter is a leader on our team in so many ways, and an exceptional example of how a good attitude and positive outlook transfer to great results. I know our whole team at NTHS will all be here cheering him on as he goes up against the best in the world. I am confident Peter is well-prepared to have some fantastic races in Finland, and will make the most of this opportunity.”
Halvorsen has her own hopes for the Scandi Cup and beyond — hopes tied to the nutrition and performance goals she wrote for herself at the start of the school year: “I hope my future can be the first good story to start with, ‘So a girl walks into a salad bar...’”
Races at the Scandinavian Cup begin Jan. 31 with the Sprint Freestyle. The 5K Classic race is scheduled for Feb. 1, and a 3x3K Mixed Relay will follow on Feb. 2.
Results will be available at http://www.fis-ski.com/.
Sierra Sun Sports Editor Sylas Wright contributed to this story.