12-year-old aerialist is youngest ever chosen to U.S. Freestyle team
Tribune and USSA reports
PARK CITY, Utah – Aerialist Rachael Pack didn’t even have time to become a teenager before the U.S. Freestyle Team snapped her up.
The 12-year-old Park City girl was selected to the 42-member team on Wednesday.
Rachael is the younger sister of Olympic aerials medalist Joe Pack.
As the first pre-teenager ever named to any U.S. Ski Team in any sport, Pack overtakes Kate Reed, who was 14 when she was selected to the 1999 Ski Team.
Eleven selections, including South Lake Tahoe’s Travis Cabral and Tahoe City’s Shannon Bahrke, were World Cup winners.
Cabral, the 2003 World Cup men’s moguls series champion, won a World Cup and two national titles in 2004.
Bahrke’s season was shortened by a broken jaw a year after capturing the World Cup women’s moguls series title. She is expected to be at full strength by the time the 2004-05 season begins.
Four other Lake Tahoe area mogul skiers made the U.S. team, including 21-year-old Laurel Shanley of the North Shore. Shanley joined Bahrke on the “A” team, which usually means skiers have their airfare, boarding and meals paid for.
Surprisingly, 25-year-old Shelly Robertson of Reno was relegated to “C” team status. Robertson won dual moguls and was runner-up in singles at the Chevy Truck U.S. Freestyle Championships at Heavenly Mountain Resort and was 16th in the final World Cup standings. The six Americans ahead of Robertson in the World Cup standings were placed on the “A” team.
All four of the partially-funded “B” team members are aerialists.
Joining Robertson on the “C” team are 17-year-old McKenzy Golding of Reno and 20-year-old Jessica Davis of Tahoe City.
“This is a very strong team in a World Championships season. I’m excited about the season because we have the best moguls team Ð men and women Ð in the world,” said U.S. Program Director Polly-Jo Clark. “Toby (Dawson), Jeremy (Bloom), Olympic medalists Travis Mayer and Shannon Bahrke, Hannah Kearney – who won two events last season in her first full year on the World Cup – and (David) Babic and (Nathan) Roberts scored their first wins this past winter.”
Clark said team officials are also very pleased with the progress of the aerials team.
“Eric Bergoust, a former Olympic, world and World Cup aerials champion, is returning. He’ll rejoin Joe Pack, Ryan St. Onge and ‘Speedy’ (Jeret Peterson) to give us a solid men’s aerials team again,” Clark said. “We know Kate and Kelly (Hilliman) are going to be upgrading their jumps this summer … and we’ve got some young talents starting to emerge,” Clark said.