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Dreams become reality for local skiers at Junior Nationals
The Leavenworth Winter Sports Club juniors who attended Junior Nationals (JNs) are very thankful for the encouragement and support from the Leavenworth community. Junior Nationals, a prestigious event for elite skiing youth, took place March 2-8 in Stowe, Vermont. Six of the 33 skiers representing the Pacific Northwest (PNSA) were from Leavenworth: Julia Burnham, Moses Lurbur, Kieran Ringel, Ivy Spiegel-Ostrom, Nate Wells, and Lydia Youkey.

"The Leavenworth team hopped on a plane after school. We met PNSA members at the Boston airport," said Moses Lurbur. "Everyone piled into two vans and drove to Stowe, Vermont. We slept in three houses."

"JNs were an absolutely amazing experience. I came into the races super nervous," said Kieran Ringel, a first timer at this level of competition. "It was cool to look around and know that some of these people will most likely be going to the Olympics one day, and to know that, I was able to race against them."

Skiing at Nationals doesn't compare to anything these juniors have done before. The level of competition, the quality of the venue and the amount of support make the atmosphere at JNs like an Olympic event for the 380 competitors who came from the 10 USA regions.

"Nationals was one of the greatest experiences of my life," said Julia Burnham, "The race venue was amazing, and the community was so incredibly supportive. The atmosphere of hundreds of determined athletes, who have overcome tremendous obstacles, is perfect."

"Junior Nationals once again managed to blow my mind," said Ivy Spiegel-Ostrom, who attended her second year at this event. "The community of Stowe really came together to put on this event."

For most of Leavenworth's skiers, just making the qualification standard to compete at Nationals is a life goal. They hone their technique and fitness over several years specifically for this event. But for some skiers, making it to Nationals is a stepping-stone, and the goal is to place as high as possible.

"There's a moment when your at the start line, when everything's silent and every little shuffle of skis is stilled-just before the start gun goes off- that you realize where you are and what your doing and who your with, and you can't help but feel like the luckiest person to ever live," said Lydia Youkey, who met her goal of finishing within the top 10. "You're in a tight pack of the fastest sixty girls in the nation, and you're ready. Ready to challenge them. You can finally give every last ounce you've got and see where you stand in the rankings nationally."

Thursday, April 3, 2014 More...

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