The beginning of this month was World Junior tryouts and North American Junior Championships in Ishpeming, MI.
Coming in, the was only one more spot open for the World Junior team, because Nick Hendrickson, Michael Ward, Cliff Field, and Erik Lynch had already scored Continental Cup points and were prequalified. Despite this, I had a really good shot at being this guy, as I was the 4th or 5th junior in all the Continental Cups in December. Anyways, Tyler Smith, from Park City, beat me out.
The first race in Ishpeming came down to a photo finish between Tyler Smith, Sebastian Dandurand, from Canada, and I. Tyler just edged me out for 2nd, but I finished a hair ahead of Sebastian to stay on the podium. The next day I finished in 6th. Not making World Juniors was pretty disappointing as this was my main goal for the winter, but the good news is that there is still a lot of competition left this season.
My coaches and I had a long meeting after I didn’t make the team, moving forward for the season and long run. They reinforced that on the physical side I’ve done everything that has been asked of me, but my main issue is the mental aspect. We know that I haven’t been jumping at my potential, especially in competitions, because I can get too tight and serious. Having said this, the next day in Ishpeming, I went out and had fun and jumped significantly better for the two special jumping comps that day.
Since Ishpeming, I've been back in Steamboat for a couple weeks of solid training. We also had a Junior Olympic Qualifier here last weekend, where I definitely jumped better, with jumps of 65.5 and 68.5 on the K68, and had a great race.
The plus side of not making the JW team is that I am still going back to Europe to compete in Continental Cups for 3 weeks. I will be travelling with a few members of the US Ski Team to Eisenerz, AUT; Szczyrk, PL; and Kranj, SLO. I'm looking forward to Szcyrk, as I haven't heard much about the place (but I probably wil never be able to spell it with ease, much less pronounce the name). I competed in Eisererz last winter, and trained in Kranj both last winter and this summer; it'll be nice to know what to expect when we show up at the jumps there.
We are heading to Park City this Wednesday for another JO qualifier, and then I fly to Munich from Salt Lake on the 30th!
Here's some cool pictures from Ishpeming.
Where am I?