Nine young athletes awarded grants from Far West Ski Association |

Nine young athletes awarded grants from Far West Ski Association

Courtesy of Felix Mclaughlin/Vision VideoDylan Murtha of the Sugar Bowl Academy is one of nine young skiers to receive a grant from the Far West Ski Association.

Nine athletes from the Lake Tahoe region have been honored for their Alpine ski racing performance and potential by the Far West Ski Association (FWSA).

Far West awarded grants of $500 to $1,000 to be used to cover training and competition fees during the 2009-2010 ski racing season. All nine recipients had at least a 3.9 grade point average, with six achieving a 4.0.

and#8226; Julia Bjorkman ($850), age 14, of Crystal Bay. An eighth-grader at Incline Middle School, Bjorkman is described by her Diamond Peak Ski Team coach as and#8220;driven and dedicated.and#8221; She achieved exceptional results as a first-year J-3 racer, finishing the 2008-’09 season in the top 10 nationally in downhill and the top 20 in super G. She also qualified for the Western Region Junior Olympics.

and#8226; Dylan Brooks ($500), 16, Mammoth Lakes. Brooks transferred to the Sugar Bowl Academy for his junior year of high school. His coach at the Mammoth Ski Team noted that Brooks overcame several serious injuries during his ski career and persevered to achieve one top 10 and two top 20 national rankings as a J-2. The same strong work ethic and dedication has brought him success in academics, where he achieved a 4.0 his sophomore year.

and#8226; Allene Kennedy ($500), 15, Truckee. Kennedy is in her sophomore year at Truckee High School. She is a member of the Squaw Valley Ski Team. Unlike most of her peers in ski racing, Kennedy’s training is limited to weekends and occasional days off from school. Nevertheless, she has achieved admirable results with a top-10 ranking in downhill and top-15 in super G and giant slalom.

and#8226; Lila Lapanja ($750), 14, Incline Village. Lapanja is a freshman at Incline High School. Like many junior racers, she balances her rigorous training and competition schedule with formal classes and independent studies and#8212; a balance that has yielded a 4.0 GPA as well as top-5 national ranking in all four disciplines. Her coach, Josee Lacasse, commends her hard work, dedication and maturity that has contributed to her competition success and made her an inspiration for her peers.

and#8226; Nicolo Monforte ($500), 14, Olympic Valley. Monforte attends North Tahoe High School in Tahoe City and is a member of the Squaw Valley Ski Team. His coach, Lee Schmidt, lauds him for giving a 110 percent in every endeavor. His positive attitude and hard work has yielded outstanding results and#8212; No. 1 first-year J-3 in the Far West Division, top-5 ranking nationally in downhill and super G, and top 15 in slalom. At this year’s Junior Olympics at Brundage Mountain, Idaho, Monforte finished second in slalom, 13th in giant slalom, 12th in super G and second in the combined.

and#8226; Morganne Murphy ($850), 15, Truckee. Murphy is a sophomore at Forest Charter School and a member of the Squaw Valley Ski Team. Competing as a J-3 last season, Murphy achieved top-10 national ranking in downhill and super G and top-20 in giant slalom and slalom. She won the gold medal in super G at the 2009 J-3 Western Region Junior Olympics, placing fourth overall and finishing top-10 in all events. She was also the J-3 gold medal winner at the Far West Speed Championships in March, 2009.

and#8226; Dylan Murtha ($1000), 15, Truckee. Murtha is a sophomore at the Sugar Bowl Academy. Over the last four years, he has been a top competitor in the United States Ski and Snowboard (USSA)-sanctioned alpine ski competition. His coach, Aaron Atkins, attributes his success to his being an incredible competitor with the work ethic necessary to achieve all his goals. He completed his second year J-3s in 2009 ranked No. 1 in the country in giant slalom, seventh in downhill, 10th in super G, and 17th in slalom. Murtha also scored in the top-10 in giant slalom and slalom at the Junior Olympics at McCall, Idaho

and#8226; Jake Perkins ($1,000), 17, Truckee. Perkins attends Truckee High School and recently transferred from the Squaw Valley Ski Team to the Sugar Bowl Ski Team. His coach at Squaw Valley, Greg Jones, praised him for his dedication and hard work. The first-year J-1 racer is ranked second nationally in both giant slalom and super G, as well as fourth in downhill and fifth in slalom. Perkinsand#8217; hard work has resulted in numerous invitations to National Development Camps and recently, the U.S. Ski Team Development Team Camp. He has also qualified for races at both the national and international level, including the J-2 Nationals, U.S. Nationals and the North American Championships.

and#8226; Kenneth Wilson, ($500), 16, Prattville. Wilson attends Chester High School north of Truckee and trains with the Squaw Valley Ski Team. Last season as a J-3, Wilson ended the 2008-2009 race season ranked nationally in the top 10 in downhill, super G, and giant slalom, and in the top 15 in slalom. Like most top junior competitors, he must balance his rigorous training schedule with a demanding academic program. He is commended by his teachers for his ability to organize his school time and his discipline in meeting independent study goals. Wilson carries that dedication and discipline onto the race course where, according to his coach, Lee Schmitt, his mental toughness and competitiveness have led to success in ski racing.

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