Far West well represented at Junior Olympics
Snowballing in size since its inception, the Far West team became a virtual avalanche heading to this year’s Junior Olympics.
The Far West cross country ski team will showcase the talent of 24 racers, 12 boys and 12 girls, at the 2000 Junior Olympic competition to be held March 6-11 in Jackson, N. H. It is the largest team ever to travel to the Junior Olympic competition from this division.
The quantity of racers, according to coach Glenn Jobe, means that, for the first time, Far West will be able to fill each relay team in age group and gender, whereas in years past, they have had to borrow racers from other teams. More than 400 racers – representing nine different regions – are expected to compete in four different events for boys and girls in three different age divisions; J2 (ages 14-15), J1 (16-17) and OJ (18-19).
The size is also stacked with quality. Thirteen of the 24 racers making the trip were in last year’s competition when the Far West squad earned 12 medals, the best results in the team’s history.
Six members of the team are from the Truckee area.
Louis Van Blarigan is a second year competitor in the J1 division. Just three weeks ago, Van Blarigan won the California/Nevada Interscholastic Ski Association’s state championship in the seven kilometer race held at Auburn Ski Club. He competed in the competition last year.
Betsy Van Blarigan qualified for the Junior Olympics last year but did not go. Able to go this year, Van Blarigan has added to her list of achievements a third place finish in this year’s CNISSA state competition.
Shannon Lankenau also qualified for competition last year at the Junior Olympics and did not go.
Nick Sterling is a second year J2 from Truckee who, according to Jobe, was a consistent winner in the J2 division all season at Far West races.
Andrew Van Blarigan rounds out the list of local competitors. This is his first year competing in the the J2 division.
Kara LaPoint is a J3 skier (13 years old) that is moving up to the J2 level for the Olympics. According to Jobe, she is “the winner of just about every intermediate school race this season.”
Also competing are: Emma Garrard (OJ), Emily Robins (OJ), Esther Bottomley (J1), Jessica Ford (J1), Anne and Laura Spohr (J1), Rory Bosio (J2), Margaux Joffe (J2), Natalie Joffe (J2), Ian Case (OJ), Eric Ford (OJ), Eric Wieman (OJ), Jakub Benes (J1), Tony Bozio (J1), Scott Hill (J1), Corey Martin (J1), Dana Mosman (J1) and Phillip Violett (J2).
“It’s truly remarkable to have this kind of depth,” Jobe said. “We’ve been building for years and we’re now seeing the benefits of these programs. [Far West has] had tremendous support from all the local areas, including Tahoe Donner, Royal Gorge, Auburn Ski Club and Tahoe Cross Country.
But there’s no one reason for the success. It’s a combination of a variety of things, like the number of racers, the parents, the areas. I think what we’re seeing happen is everything is coming together.
“The most encouraging thing is that we’ve got a whole bunch of younger kids coming up,” Jobe said. “This is just the start.”
Far West racers qualified as a result of top finishes in at least three of four of the Junior Olympic qualifier races this season.
The racers leave on March 4 and competition, beginning with one kilometer sprint races, begins on March 6. The classic race for boys and girls in all divisions will be held Wednesday, March 8, a skate race for all divisions is Friday, March 10 and relays will be held for all divisions on March 11.
The racers will return on Sunday, March 12.
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