Three boarders to attend Junior Worlds in New Zealand |

Three boarders to attend Junior Worlds in New Zealand

Darin Olde, Tribune staff writer
Sisters Stacie, foreground, and Joanie Anderson show off their favorite snowboards. They are recent

selections to the U.S. Junior National Snowboarding Team, along with Elena Hight, not pictured.|Dan Thrift|

The United States Amateur Snowboarding Association selected sisters Joanie and Stacie Anderson and Elena Hight from South Lake Tahoe to join the 2002 junior national snowboarding team. They’ll head to the Vodafone Snowboard Nations Junior Worlds Championship in New Zealand this September.

The three South Lake Tahoe riders make up three of the five youth women in the under-15 division.

Sierra-at-Tahoe snowboarding instructor Brady Gunsch has also been appointed to a post as a national-team assistant coach, and will accompany the team of 33 snowboarders in the five-day competition at Cardrona Alpine Resort in Wanaka, New Zealand.

All three riders were qualified and had applied to compete in the 2003 Junior Worlds. But after the date for the 2002 Junior Worlds changed from spring to fall, and several riders on the national team dropped out, head coach John Siple approached the South Tahoe regional director about filling the positions.

“Because of their accomplishments at nationals and because of the recommendation from the regional director, I invited them and they accepted,” Siple said. “This is USASA’s way of awarding young athletes with more than just a medal. It’s a chance to represent the US among 20-23 countries.”

Both Joanie and Stacie Anderson finished first in the triple and combined overall at the USASA nationals at Mammoth Mountain in their respective age groups.

Hight, who competed in the same age group as Stacie, finished first in combined, freestyle, alpine and GS at nationals.

Each will compete in the parallel giant slalom, halfpipe and boardercross at the Worlds.

Filling out the roster of youth women are Monica Gemmiti from Mont Vernon, N.H., and Nina Clark of Aspen, Colo.

Also from the Tahoe area, Kimmy Fasani, Jayson Hale and Josh Wilson will attend the competition as members of the junior division (ages 16-18).

The team leaves Sept. 1 and arrives in New Zealand on Sept. 3. They return Sept. 15.

“I’m way more excited to go to New Zealand,” said Joanie Anderson, who turned down the opportunity last year to attend the Junior Worlds in Italy.

Anderson also said she’s happy that her little sister has been invited to attend this year. And although that may have made the difference in 2001, she said she would have made the push to go this year, regardless.

“I was happy to see that they’re ready to go,” said Gunsch. “They definitely have chance to be on the top.”

Ed McClain, who coaches Hight at Heavenly Ski Foundation’s snowboarding program, said he’s seen Hight accomplish more than any other youth female rider at Heavenly.

“I think she’s got the most potential of any athlete I’ve ever coached,” McClain said. “She’s got the style and the power to do it all.”

All the riders will have brief little time to raise the $2,500 Siple anticipates it will cost to attend the event, and that doesn’t include spending money. While all three of the riders are sponsored, they are looking for tax-deductible donations that can be addressed to USASA/JNT.

Donations should be earmarked for a particular athlete specified in the “memo” field.

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