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Junior Olympic team heads to Michigan

Sun News Service

Far West athletes and coaches will head to Ishpeming, Mich., on March 2, to compete with some of the best young Nordic skiers in the country.

Based on four junior qualifier events, this is the most experienced team (in terms of previous Junior Olympics experience) the Far West has ever fielded. In light of its strong showing at the last two JO events, Far West organizers say they have extremely high hopes for bringing home a variety of medals from this year’s competition.

Last year’s event in Jackson, N.H., was marred by warm weather as the team struggled with deteriorating conditions, slush, puddles and the occasional mud patch. Hoping to top 1999’s Far West record showing of 12 medals, the 24 racer contingent came up four medals short. This year, Coach Glenn Jobe and his team are looking to pull out their best performance in the program’s history and definitely have the talent to do so.

Named to this year’s team were:

OJ Male: Ian Case (Grass Valley), Casey Watson (Reno)

J1 Male: Tony Bozzio (Tahoe City), Scott Hill (Carnelian Bay), Dana Mosman (Nevada City), Nick Sterling (Truckee)

J1 Female: Jessica Ford (Lee Vining), Margaux Joffe (Kentfield), Shannon Lankenau (Truckee), Laura Spohr (Tahoe City), Betsy Van Blarigan (Truckee).

J2 Male: Joaquin Goodpaster (Truckee), Nicki Henriques (Tahoe City), Andrew Van Blarigan (Truckee), Phillip Violett (Brownsville)

J2 Female: Lindsay Collin (Truckee), Natalie Joffe (Kentfield), Kara LaPoint (Truckee).

Ishpeming, Mich. is the venue for this year’s Junior Olympics events.

They will begin on Monday, March 5 with the sprint races. Wednesday, March 7 will be the long distance freestyle races, Friday, March 9 the short distance classic races and finally the mixed relays will occur on Saturday, March 10. The team will leave on Friday morning, March 2, and arrive home on Sunday, March 11.

This year’s JO qualifier events were the 10 km Snowshoe Thompson Classic citizen race at Auburn Ski Club, the 15 km Sierra Skogsloppet at Tahoe Donner Cross-Country, the high school race at Auburn Ski Club, and the Tahoe City Classic 10 K (5k) on Feb. 4.

Far West Nordic’s medal hopes took a small blow when Zach Violett, a favorite to finish high in Ishpeming, decided to stay in Norway and ski in the Norwegian Junior Nationals this year. However, with 12 out of the 18 veterans of at least one previous Junior Olympics, Far West remains a viable contender for medals in this year’s event.

Also traveling to Michigan as part of the Far West team are coaches Glenn Jobe, Nancy Fiddler, Anna Sterner, Lynn Harriman, Bill Sterling and Dan Hill. Larry Ford and Don Mosman will also join the group, providing parental support to the young skiers.

Nordic enthusiasts and JO team supporters can follow the team’s progress by logging onto the continually updated Far West Web site at http://www.farwestnordic.org or by directly linking to the JO Race Organizing Committee Web site at http://www.jo2001.f2s.com.


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