Wehan Dominates Ski Racing Junior Olympic Qualifier | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Wehan Dominates Ski Racing Junior Olympic Qualifier

Douglas High freshman and Kirkwood ski racer Bryce Wehan proved once again he is one of the world’s fastest 14-year-old skiers, as he dominated the opening round of Junior Olympic qualifying last weekend at Snow Summit Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake, 100 miles east of Los Angeles.

Wehan, already in his sixth year of junior racing, won five of six runs over three days in the giant slalom, firmly placing him in the top seed for the Junior Olympics March 20-23 in Montana. A mistake on the last face of Saturday afternoon’s event is all that kept the 6-foot-1 skiing phenom from winning every run.

“He’s putting it all together at exactly the right time,” said Kirkwood Ski Education Foundation Head Coach Tim Kawcek. “There’s never been a question about his racing ability; it’s been about his mental and strategic approach to one of the toughest games in sports, that being tremendous focus and concentration for one minute on the edge at high speed.”

Wehan is no stranger to peaking at the right time. Struggling with his slalom technique most of last season while adjusting to a huge growth spurt, he settled down to business at the 2002 Junior Olympics, finishing third in the slalom at Mount Hood Meadows in Oregon.

“All of Kirkwood is proud of Bryce and his accomplishments,” said Tim Cohee, Kirkwood President and also head of Far West Skiing. “His entire family has been part of the Kirkwood family for several years, and we’re all excited to see him reach his potential. There is no doubt he is a favorite to become a Junior Olympic Champion this March in Montana.”

Nick Cohee and Holden Sapp also competed. Both athletes are well-positioned to make the team traveling to Montana, although they were both

disappointed with their results. Cohee finished 10th once and 13th twice, with Sapp among the top 20 all three days.

Twenty-six men and 16 women will be selected to the Western Region Junior Olympic Team after qualifying rounds are completed February 17. Both Wehan and Cohee were Junior Olympians in 2002.

All three local racers will spend the next two weeks preparing for round two of Junior Olympic Qualifying, with the slalom event set for Feb. 1-3 at Sugar Bowl Resort near Donner Pass.

In addition to the three Carson Valley athletes, Kirkwood’s Shelby Hawthorne had a tremendous Junior Olympic Qualifier at Snow Summit, finishing in the top six all three days. A first-year J3, Hawthorne has all but assured herself a spot on the team headed to Montana as well.

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