Tahoe, Truckee ski racers receive Far West grants | SierraSun.com

Tahoe, Truckee ski racers receive Far West grants

Special to the Sun
Special to the SunNico Monforte, a sophomore at North Tahoe High School and member of the Squaw Valley Ski Team, was awarded a $500 grant from the Far West Ski Association. Monforte was one of six athletes in the Tahoe area to receive the grant.

ARNOLD, Calif. and#8212; Six athletes from the Truckee-Tahoe area were honored for their alpine ski racing performance and potential by the Far West Ski Association, which awarded grants ranging between $500 to $1,000 to be used to cover training and competition fees during the 2010-’11 season.

Common attributes for all these young athletes are hard work and dedication, both of which yielded success on the race course and in school. Each of the athletes boast an average grade point average of 3.95 or higher, with four achieving a perfect 4.0.

A total of 15 ski racers from California, Nevada, Washington and Oregon received a Far West grant.

and#8226; Tenaya Driller ($500), age 16: Driller is in her junior year at Forest Charter School. Mike Prado, Driller’s Squaw Valley Ski Team coach, commended her for her dedication and hard work. Her 100 percent effort in training has yielded impressive results in competition and#8212; a top-20 national ranking in all four disciplines and a 12th place in this year’s J-2 National Championships in Sugarloaf, Maine.

and#8226; Johanna Gur ($750), age 14: Gur resides in Olympic Valley and attends Forest Charter School in Truckee, where she is an honors student. A member of the Squaw Valley Ski Team, Gur credits her work ethic, focus and commitment for her successes in both skiing and academics. Despite a serious injury in December 2009, she rebounded to qualify for the J-3 Junior Olympics, where she scored a respectable 15th place in super G. She finished the 2009-’10 season nationally ranked sixth in downhill, eighth in super G and 20th in slalom.

and#8226; Lila Lapanja ($1,000), age 16: Lapanja is a junior at Incline High School and a member of the Diamond Peak Ski Team. Her coach, Josee Lacasse, notes that and#8220;her devotion to skiing, racing and excellence is a testament to the very ideals of an elite-level athlete.and#8221; Lapanja had 10 top-10 finishes, including six on the podium, during the 2009-’10 season. She finished the year nationally ranked sixth in downhill, ninth in giant slalom and fourth in slalom.

and#8226; Nicolo Monforte ($500), age 15: Monforte, an Olympic Valley resident and member of the Squaw Valley Ski Team, is in his sophomore year at North Tahoe High School in Tahoe City. During the 2009-’10 race season, Monforte locked in his leading position as one of the country’s top J-3 racers. He finished nationally ranked third in the downhill, fourth in super G, 16th in giant slalom and 10th in slalom. He finished fifth and sixth in super G and slalom, respectively, at the J-3 Junior Olympics, and he was awarded second place overall at the spring Wild West Series. Dr. Eddie Mozen, chairman of the Far West Masters Scholarship Program and a family friend, noted that Monforte has learned to and#8220;focus his goals, develop initiative and multitaskand#8221; so that he can succeed despite the challenging demands from competition, training and academics.

and#8226; Morganne Murphy ($1,000), age 16: Murphy, from Truckee, is a junior at Forest Charter School and a member of the Squaw Valley Ski Team. Competing as a first-year J-2 last season, Murphy achieved a top four and top five national ranking in downhill and super G, respectively, and top 19th in giant slalom. During the 2009-’10 season she won three gold medals in alpine events (one super G and two giant slalom) and a gold medal in ski cross at the USASA National Championships at Copper Mountain, Colo. In mid April she finished ninth overall, but first among J-2 women, at the Elite FIS Speed Spring Series at Mt. Bachelor, Ore. Based on her outstanding performance in alpine racing, combined with her gold-medal run at the USASA National Championships, Murphy was the only American girl chosen to compete in ski cross at the inaugural FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Skiing Junior World Championships. There, she joined more than 300 of the world’s elite junior snow sports from more than 30 nations in Wanaka, New Zealand.

and#8226; Dylan Murtha ($1,000), age 16: Murtha lives in Truckee and is a junior at the Sugar Bowl Academy. In the past five years, Murtha 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. Murtha competed in 39 races during the 2009-’10 season and achieved a top-10 finish in at least one race in super G, giant slalom and slalom. He ended the season nationally ranked 11th in slalom and 15th in super G.

The Far West Ski Association is a non-profit, volunteer organization devoted to skier safety, ski travel, ski club programs, recreational ski racing, ski area development and family ski involvement. It is one of the country’s largest ski associations with 11 active councils representing skiers and snowboarders in all the continental states west of the Great Divide with the exception of Montana. The FWSA scholarship program was established in 2004 as a means of aiding deserving young alpine ski competitors. This year, 15 ski racers from Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada will benefit from FWSA grants.

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