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Howard gives up spot on US Ski Team

Steve Yingling

Wisi Betschart and Jonna Mendes of the South Shore will remain on the U.S. Ski Team’s C squads, the team announced on Thursday.

The 20-year-old Betschart, who spent most of last season working his way back from a torn ACL, will be a fourth-year team member.

Mendes, 18, debuted with the team last year after a dynamite junior career.

Daron Rahlves of Truckee retained his spot on the men’s A team.

Meanwhile, former team member Alicia Howard of Tahoe Paradise surrendered her team spot by announcing in April that she will attend the University of Utah.

“She still wants to see if she can get to World Cup,” said Noel Dufty, Howard’s former Heavenly Foundation coach. “She went into it so young. I think sometimes you get locked into that ski team mentality, then it’s good to come out and have a look from the outside again.”

Dufty said that Howard will receive a full-ride scholarship at Utah.

Dufty pointed out that other U.S. Team members – Jan Collins and Shannon Nobis – have left for college, then come back.

“It’s getting to be more common where kids are actually going to college,” Dufty said. “I think college is a good decision so she can ski with the Euros for a while.”

Two-time World Cup downhill champion Picabo Street of Sun Valley, Idaho, and 1994 Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe of Girdwood, Alaska, head the 1998 U.S. Alpine Ski Team.

In a joint announcement by men’s head coach Bill Egan and women’s head coach Herwig Demschar, 44 athletes – 24 men and 20 women – were named for the coming season. Selection was based on international results during the ’97 season. The 1998 Olympic team will be announced in February.

Street, the 1996 World downhill champion, ’94 Olympic silver medalist and 1993 World championships combined silver medalist in addition to the back-to-back World cup titles, is coming back from knee surgery last December. She competed in only one race last winter, finishing fourth in the opening downhill of the season before being injured in training and is expected back on snow by early summer.

Demschar said Street’s return would help offset the retirement of Hilary Lindh, who succeeded her injured teammate as world champion, winning the downhill gold medal on the final day of the 1997 World Championship in Sestriere, Italy.

Moe continued his recovery from knee surgery two years ago and was skiing his best as the ’97 season ended. He won the U.S. downhill and super-G titles on consecutive days during the Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships at Maine’s Sugarloaf/USA in March.

The 1998 men’s team roster contains: A Team – Matt Grosjean (Aliso Viejo, Calif.); AJ Kitt (Boulder, Colo.); Kyle Rasmussen (Angels Camp, Calif.); Tommy Moe (Girdwood, Alaska); and Daron Rahlves (Truckee).

B Team – Zach Crist (Ketchum, Idaho); Clic Bloomfield (Ketchum, Idaho); Chad Fleischer (Vail, Colo.); Chip Knight (New Canaan, Conn.); Sacha Gros (Vail, Colo.); Mike Makar (Anchorage, Alaska); Casey Puckett (Crested Butte, Colo.); and Jason Rosener (Breckenridge, Colo.).

C Team – Wisi Betschart (South Lake Tahoe); Andrew Ernemann (Aspen, Colo.); Jakub Fiala (Breckenridge, Colo.); Brad Hogan (Holmes, N.Y.); Justin Johnson (Park City, Utah); Andy Leroy (Silverthorne, Colo.); Ehlias Louis (Park City, Utah); Bode Miller (Franconia, N.H.); Dane Spencer (Boise, Idaho); Geoff Stephenson (Wilson, Wyo.); and Drew Thorne-Thomsen (Stratton Mountain, Vt.).

Making up the 1998 Women’s Alpine squad are: A Team – Picabo Street (Sun Valley, Idaho).

B Team – Kjersti Bjorn-Roli (Anchorage, Alaska); Kirsten Clark (Raymond, Maine); Megan Gerety (Anchorage, Alaska); Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, MN); Katie Monahan (Aspen, Colo.); Tasha Nelson (Mound, MN); and Carrie Sheinberg (Port Washington, N.Y.)

C Team – Courtney Calise (Littleton, N.H.): Amber Guaraglia (Larkspur, Calif.); Megan Ganong (Olympic Valley); Tiffany Hoversten (Vail, Colo.); Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, Colo.); Jonna Mendes (Zephyr Cove); Aimee Mulkern (Magnolia, MA); Shaina Mulkern (Magnolia, MA); Allison Powers (Aurora, Colo.); Sarah Schleper (Vail, Colo.); Alex Shaffer (Aspen, Colo.); and Tatum Skoglund (Bellevue, Wash.)


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