Young skiers prepare to head to Junior Olympics
Throughout the recently completed California-Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation season, junior skiers competed for more than just individual and team medals.
They also raced for enough points to qualify for the Junior Olympics.
Recently, 24 junior cross country skiers from across Northern California found out that they complied enough points to qualify for the Junior Olympic Cross Country Ski Championships.
The Junior Olympics are held every March to allow the fastest junior skiers from across the nation the chance to race head to head.
This year the championships will be held in McCall, Idaho March 4-10. The events will consist of a 1.5-kilometer sprint race, a long classic race, a long skate race and a three-person relay which determines which division has the most depth.
Racers also compete for age-group medals in the J2 (14-15 years old) J1 (16-17) and the OJ (18-19) categories.
And thanks to a quality field of junior racers from Truckee to Tahoe City, Marin to Mono County, the Far West Division of the United States Ski Association, which includes California and Nevada, will be sending one of the largest teams in recent years to compete at the junior championships.
The 24 racers sent by Far West this year is up from the 16 who qualified last year.
“Junior programs from all across the Sierra Nevada and foothills have really stepped up the quality of their ski programs, and so we are seeing many more motivated and talented athletes from our region who can compete with the best at a National level,” said Far West Nordic and Auburn Ski Club Head Coach Jeff Schloss.
This year’s team includes racers from the Tahoe Basin as well as athletes from the eastern Sierra, the foothills and the Bay Area.
Truckee has the lion’s share of athletes with nine qualifiers.
Schloss gives credit to the local school programs for the large number of Truckee athletes.
“The Truckee middle school and high school programs have been consistently training top cross country ski racers and many of them are now among the best in the country,” he said.
The level of competition is extremely high at the Junior Olympics, with over 200 athletes from nine different divisions skiing for top honors.
Schloss said he hopes to exceed last year’s tally of two individual medals, but stresses that it is not all about the medals.
“My goal is for each athlete to go to Idaho and ski their best, to really push themselves, and to enjoy the whole process of skiing at a national level. To me that is success. I feel that this is one of the strongest teams Far West has ever put together and am very excited to see what we can do in McCall,” Schloss said.
2002 Far West Junior Olympic Team:
Cindy Apodaca, Mammoth Lakes
Sarah Armstrong, Bishop
Tony Bozzio, Tahoe City
Kati Clark, Soda Springs
Lindsay Collin, Truckee
Steffi Christiana, Mammoth Lakes
Kayla Evans, Truckee
Jessica Ford, Lee Vining
Matt Gelso, Truckee
Joaquin Goodpaster, Truckee
Maisha Goodpaster, Truckee
Nick Grimmer, Soda Springs
Jenna Harlow, Tahoe City
Dominic Henriques, Tahoe City
Scott Hill, Carnelian Bay
Natalie Joffe, Kentfield
Kara Lapoint, Truckee
Jennifer Meyers, Mammoth Lakes
Dana Mosman, Nevada City
Whitney Prosor, Truckee
Garrett Reid, Palo Alto
Nick Sterling, Truckee
Andrew Van Blarigan, Truckee
Phillip Violett, Brownsville
Jeff Schloss, Truckee
Nancy Fiddler, Crowley Lake
Anna Sterner, Truckee
Bill Sterling, Truckee
Dan Hill, Truckee
Larry Ford, Lee Vining
Lynn Harriman, South Lake Tahoe