Tahoe skiers awarded with memorial scholarships | SierraSun.com

Tahoe skiers awarded with memorial scholarships

Special to the Sun
Bozhie Pokorny, shown competing in a Tahoe Basin League slalom race last year, is one of eight recipients of the Bobbie Sprock Memorial Scholarship.
File photo |

Far West Skiing recently announced the recipients of four different memorial scholarships — the Bobbie Sprock Memorial Scholarship, Rick Hom Memorial Scholarship, Matthew Trabert Memorial Scholarship and Dave Van Ruiten Memorial Scholarship.

Bobbie Sprock Memorial Scholarship

In honor of Bobbie Sprock, who along with her husband Vern owned Sierra Ski Ranch from 1950-1993, her family has established the Bobbie Sprock Memorial Scholarship to acknowledge U18 athletes and older who excel in ski racing, have strong character, demonstrate academic excellence, have a financial need, and must be members in good standing with Far West Skiing.

They include the following Far West skiers:

Julia Bjorkman: Bjorkman is a first-year U21 with Sugar Bowl Academy with a goal of being stronger mentally and physically than ever before for the coming season. She would like to attend college on the East Coast next year. In her spare time she enjoys riding her horse. “Skiing has allowed me to grow as a person and learn respect along with sportsmanship,” she said. “Skiing is a life lesson all in itself and that is what excites me.”

Addison Dvoracek: Dvoracek is an all-around student-athlete who enjoys tennis, rock climbing, biking and fly fishing. He is a second-year U18 racer with Squaw Valley and is currently in the top seven in the country for his age in GS and SL. He looks to attend University of Utah or University of Montana, and obtain a degree in engineering while continuing his ski racing career there.

Bozhie Pokorny: Pokorny is a second-year U18 athlete from Squaw Valley Ski Team who grew up skiing with her family and did not start racing until she was 13. Working hard on her mental preparation for the upcoming season is a large goal as she balances school and ski racing. “I love being able to improve upon and challenge myself: to overcome fear, to discover new ways of thinking, to not let failure win, and to fight to prove to myself that I can accomplish the things I work on,” she said.

Nico Monforte: Monforte is a first-year U21 with the Squaw Valley Ski Team who competes in both the WR FIS alpine circuit and the World Cup Ski Cross Tour. He feels that his alpine racing provides many benefits for his overall skiing. He is taking some time before pursuing higher education to dedicate his life to skiing. “Thoughts of Olympic Games, World Championships and endless power days have occupied my mind for the last 18 years,” he said.

Madeline Johnson: Johnson, a first-year U21 racing with Lake Tahoe Racing, is excited about the upcoming season of racing as she prepares to travel to Nor Am events, and plans on making US Nationals. She is taking a PG year before heading off to Montana State University where she would like to major in psychology with the goal of someday being able to teach adaptive children to ski or compete in ski racing. “Ski racing is in my life because nothing in the world can compare to that feeling,” she said.

Cody Wilson: Wilson is a second-year U18 who races for Squaw Valley Ski Team and is part of the USSA National Training Group. Truly a student-athlete who was able to ski 120 days and still maintain a 4.0 GPA from his hometown high school in Chester, Wilson said, “I feel the best when I can beat a personal goal, especially when I have trained and worked so hard at it. And I have also learned that even losing provides me with the opportunity to try even harder the next time. It gives me strength to see how good I really can be.”

Hannah Johnson: Johnson is a second-year U18 skiing for Sugar Bowl Academy who “loves the feeling of making a perfectly arced turn and feeling the acceleration out of the turn.” Her goals for the season include qualifying for U18 Nationals and US Nationals, along with working hard on the technical aspect of ski her skiing. Outside of ski racing she enjoys time playing soccer, tennis, surfing and playing classical piano music.

Nicolas England: England skis for Squaw Valley Ski Team and one of his favorite things about ski racing “is the ability to make a goal, and how every day I have the ability to get close to that goal.” He is a second-year U18 who also enjoys swimming, biking and working 100 percent at all he does.

Rick Hom Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was formed by family and friends in 1993 to honor Rick Hom, who was the product manager for Head Skis and San Marcos Boots at Head Sports and was considered a ‘one-in-a-billion’ as a World Cup ski and boot tech before passing on Sept. 16, 1992. Hom also worked as the ski technician with the Squaw Valley Ski Team in the early ‘80s.

The Rick Hom Memorial Scholarship recipients include the following racers:

Michael Cooper: Cooper is a first-year U18 who skis for Sugar Bowl Academy and is ready to battle from the back of the pack. He loves to experience new things and when the snow conditions are extremely difficult, “I tend to ski my best because I am able to find the fun in the toughest of challenges,” he said. Cooper keeps up his music skills, which helps provide a way for changing his mood, and expressing what he feels.

Maia Bickert: Bickert is a first-year U18 skiing with the Heavenly Ski and Snowboard Foundation. Her academic goals include graduating with a 4.0 and continuing to attend her local public high school. “The nerve and competition it takes to succeed in ski racing sets it apart from other sports,” she said, adding that the opportunity to race at the U16 level for three years amidst the age class change was a good opportunity for her to refine her skills and focus on addressing the bigger problems before competing at a higher level.

Matthew Trabert Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is in honor of Matthew Trabert, a longtime Far West racer out of Diamond Peak who moved to Team Savage later in his career. He attended the J3 Junior Olympics, and Western Region Tech Series. After retiring from the Far West division he went on to University of Nevada Reno.

The Matthew Trabert Memorial Scholarship goes to Riley Plant.

Riley Plant: Plant is taking a gap year before heading off to Middlebury College, an early fall of 2012 acceptance. His goal for the season is to “develop himself as a skier as much as possible before joining the NCAA.” While working full time since graduating and training he is still finding time to further his education by taking online classes. He plans on majoring in economics with a minor in Spanish while at Middlebury.

Dave Van Ruiten Memorial Scholarship

Dave Van Ruiten, former director of racing at Sugar Bowl Resort, passed away on Nov. 7, 2005.  He was the former vice president of Far West Skiing, a tremendous leader and asset to junior ski racing in this region, and a highly respected professional. He was instrumental in Sugar Bowl’s commitment and rise to national ski racing prominence over the past several years. 

The scholarship in Dave Van Ruiten’s honor was given to Garret Driller.

Garret Driller: The excitement of what each race day brings is part of what makes Driller, a second-year U18 with Squaw Valley Ski Team. “At each event there are new experiences, different conditions, different people and a different risk factor,” he said. Driller is a dedicated year-round athlete with a goal to meet all US Ski Team Criteria by the end of this season. He looks forward to racing at US Nationals on his home mountain again and looking to attend NorAm finals with top results for his age. Driller currently attends the North Tahoe Ski Academy and Independent Study Program at North Tahoe High School and strives to attend a four-year NCAA Division I skiing college.

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