The High Country Junior Race Series Kicked Off Jan. 6; Next Race Takes Place Jan. 12 at Sugar Mountain

Published Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm

by Madison V. Fisler.

Jan. 9, 2014. On Jan. 6, Appalachian Ski Mountain hosted the first High Country Junior Race Series race of the season. The race featured boys and girls competing for the fastest time in their categories.

The High Country Junior Race Series first began almost three decades ago in 1984. What started  as a friendly competition between junior skiers became a huge race series that brings together junior athletes, ages 4 to 18, to participate in a series of races held at each ski area, including Appalachian Ski Mountain, Beech Mountain Resort and Sugar Mountain Resort. 

skierThe top three finishers in each category are awarded a medal at the end of each race. Placement of racers earns them points which are collected over the season during the multiple races to be added together for a final season score for the championships., where trophies are awarded to the athletes with the most combined points for the season. 

“Anytime a young athlete races, regardless of where they finish in that race, they earn points for their respective mountains team,” said Thea Young, a coach for Appalachian Ski Mtn. 

“At the end of the series, all of those points are totaled and those pointes will determine within an age group who the overall rankings are for that age group. An athlete who is not placing on the podium is still earning points for their team and contributing to the team’s total. While they may not come home with a medal, they are contributing to their team, which is so important for these young kids to understand.”

Though many of the athletes are local, there are many still who come from off the mountain from as far away as Charlotte and Raleigh to practice and compete. 

“It allows for an individual to improve and to build a lifelong love of the sport. Just because they may or may not race each week, they may or may not podium each week, you are helping a child build skiing skills that will let them be a good skier their entire life,” Young said. 

It’s a great series that brings teams together from all over and helps to build skills in individuals that contribute to a lifelong love of skiing, said Kim Jochl of Sugar Mountain Resort.

“The format of the races helps to maintain the camaraderie as a team and helps these kids to learn and love competition. It’s a fun way to compete as an athlete and introduces them to how sports and their lives can work together. This series has been in place longer than I have been here, and from what I have seen kids will stay in this series for ten years. Now we are seeing kids who raced in it coming back to let their kids race themselves. It’s a series that keeps one generation involved and encourages a second or even a third generation to compete later. It’s a great series,” Jochl said. 

Most of the coaching staff who make the series possible are volunteers who give up their time to ensure the competitors have everything they need to do their best.

“It just wouldn’t work without parents and volunteers,” said Appalachian Ski Mtn coach Dan Blackwelder.

“These volunteers get up early on weekends to make sure the kids have what they need. Parents get up on a Sunday to get kids to the races, corralling all of the equipment, making sure they get registered. The parents see the benefits of the sport for their kids and are dedicated and supportive.”

The reason for such a vast outpouring of volunteerism for this event is largely because of the vast benefits that the sport offers youngsters that participate.

“The kids have such a beneficial experience, not just physically but mentally and it has a huge character building benefit as well,” said Blackwelder. 

“For the ones that see improvement, there is a sense of accomplishment. You can see the confidence that the competition builds, it gives joy to the kids when they are able to accomplish their goals. It lets them get outside in the winter, when lots of kids are inside breathing stale air and sitting on a couch. Ski racing is a pure sport. The first one through wins, there are no questions about style or costume or unfair judging. I really love it for that reason.”

The race results for the Jan. 6 Appalachian Ski Mtn race are as follows:

Girls Six and Under

  • First Place – Avery Moretz – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Second Place – Karolina Nosarzewski – Ski Beech
  • Third Place – Abby Hemp – Sugar Mountain Resort

Boys Six and Under

  • First Place – Walker Stewart – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Second Place – Aiden Crissler – Appalachian Ski Mtn

Girls 7-8

  • First Place – Eva Young – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Second Place – Keely Hendricks – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Third Place – Sophie Speckmann – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fourth Place- Sarah Grosser – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Fifth Place – Abby Miller – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Sixth Place – Mercer Long – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Seventh Place – Clare Graham – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Eighth Place – Faye Smalle – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Ninth Place – Hannah Frye – Ski Beech

Boys 7-8

  • First Place- Thomas Mennen – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Second Place – Andrew Geouque – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Third Place – Charlie Martyn – Ski Beech
  • Fourth Place – Andrew Jones – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fifth Place – Ian Provencher – Ski Beech
  • Sixth Place – Colin Burts – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Seventh Place – Andrew Hill – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Eighth Place – Jensen Moretz – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Ninth Place – Connor Hearn – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Tenth Place – Grant Helms – Ski Beech
  • Eleventh Place – Henri Paris – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Twelfth Place – Gavin Provencher – Ski Beech
  • Thirteenth Place – Samuel Campbell – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fourteenth Place – Ayden Johnson – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fifteenth Place – Cavan Banneon – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Sixteenth Place – Ben Orroth – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Seventeenth Place – Brendan O-Connor – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Eighteenth Place – Arden Jackson – Appalachian Ski Mtn

Girls 9-10

  • First Place – Sophia Lehmann – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Second Place – Jackie Granger – Ski Beech
  • Third Place – Tessa Kozar Rogers – Ski Beech
  • Fourth Place – Ava Jane Schmidinger – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Fifth Place – Julia Handley – Ski Beech
  • Sixth Place – Hanna Kozar Rogers – Ski Beech
  • Seventh Place – Sarah Goode – Ski Beech
  • Eighth Place – Kate Ambler – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Ninth Place – Ava Giguere – Ski Beech
  • Tenth Place – Catlin Horn – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Eleventh Place – Sunny Green – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Twelfth Place – Emma Kate McLean – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Thirteenth Place – Carolina Roach – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fourteenth Place – Peyton Walton – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fifteenth Place – Tatum Mellor – Appalachian Ski Mtn

Boys 9-10

  • First Place – Maddox Spires – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Second Place – Joshua Grosser – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Third Place – Ethan Campbell – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fourth Place – William Abernethy – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fifth Place – Timothy Eustice – Ski Beech
  • Sixth Place – George Crumpler – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Seventh Place – Aiden Turner – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Eighth Place – Sam Bauer – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Ninth Place – Winn Stewart – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Tenth Place – Luke Milhaupt – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Eleventh Place – Angus Currie – Ski Beech
  • Twelfth Place – Grayson Matney – Ski Beech
  • Thirteenth Place – Griffin Dillman – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fourteenth Place – Gabe Orroth – Appalachian Ski Mtn

Girls 11-12

  • First Place – Hallie Rose Danadio – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Second Place – Emiley Geouque – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Third Place – Alice Knight – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fourth Place – Lachlann Currie – Ski Beech
  • Fifth Place – Katie Goode – Ski Beech
  • Sixth Place – Jennifer Fish – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Seventh Place – Jo Hill – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Eighth Place – Magali Turner – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Ninth Place – Jeannie Sapp – Ski Beech
  • Tenth Place – Lila M. Bauer – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Eleventh Place- Suzanna Gurkin – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Twelfth Place – Carly Gragg – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Thirteenth Place – Eve Garry – Ski Beech

Boys 11-12

  • First Place – Will T. Spradling – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Second Place – Karson Pilkenton – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Third Place – Wiley Speckmann – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fourth Place – Matthew Kosmala – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Fifth Place – Justin N. Simmons – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Sixth Place – Dennis Schneider – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Seventh Place – Thomas Paris – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Eighth Place – George Young – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Ninth Place – Jackson Hudspeth – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Tenth Place – Alex Helms – Ski Beech
  • Eleventh Place – Lee Byington – Ski Beech
  • Twelfth Place – Aiden Banneon – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Thirteenth Place – Alexander Brown – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fourteenth Place – Ben Avason – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fifteenth Place – Snannon Colins – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Sixteenth Place – Will Spillman – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Seventeenth Place – Julian Nosarzewski – Ski Beech

Girls 13-14

  • First Place – Ashley Simione – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Second Place – Katie-Mac Knight – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Third Place – Annamarie Eustice – Ski Beech
  • Fourth Place – Lauren Matherly – Ski Beech
  • Fifth Place – Emma Hudspeth – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Sixth Place – Isabelle Trew – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Seventh Place – Morgan Paris – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Eighth Place – Madison Crissler – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Ninth Place – Holland Currie – Ski Beech
  • Tenth Place – Erika Reiger – Appalachian Ski Mtn

Boys 13-14

  • First Place – Will Ambler – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Second Place – Mikel Smalle – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Third Place – Alec Granger – Ski Beech
  • Fourth Place – Will Schneider – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Fifth Place – Levi Marland – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Sixth Place – Douglas Coley – Sugar Mountain Resort
  • Seventh Place – Martin Smolka – Ski Beech
  • Eighth Place – Mathew Deleary – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Ninth Place – Carson Tollison – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Tenth Place – Baylor Matney – Ski Beech
  • Eleventh Place – Mitchell Abernethy – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Twelfth Place – Ryan McSwain – Appalachian Ski Mtn

Girls 15-16

  • First Place – Virginia Currie – Ski Beech
  • Second Place – Olivia Handley – Ski Beech

Boys 15-16

  • First Place – Andrew Horn – Appalachian Ski Mtn
  • Second Place – Matthew Anderson – Ski Beech

The next race in the High Country Junior Race Series will take place on Jan. 12 at Sugar Mountain Resort. Registration will begin at 7 a.m. at the third floor base lodge. Inspection will start at 8 a.m. and the race will officially begin at 9 a.m.

For more information about the High Country Junior Race Series, click here

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