COCC Nordic to Nationals

Isabel Smith, Brian Jorgensen and Ian Neubauer will represent the COCC Nordic Ski Club at the 2012 United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association Championships in Sunday River, Maine. The championships will be held March 3-11 and will feature Nordic skiing, Alpine skiing, Snowboarding, Freestyle and Ski Jumping events. The USCSA includes more than 178 colleges and 4,700 athletes from coast to coast.

The COCC Nordic Ski Club offers all COCC students the opportunity to participate in organized Nordic ski training six days per week during the winter term, free of charge. According to COCC Nordic Coach Ben Husaby,”We work to get COCC Nordic skiers on snow and training as much as possible. We want to educate them about training and support their travel to regional races in preparation for larger events like USCSAs.”

This season, COCC Nordic Ski Club members have traveled to races across the country including Maine, Montana, Utah and Washington to compete against the best skiers in the U.S. and in the Pacific Northwest division.

COCC will partner with Whitman College for the trip to the Championships in Maine.  According to Husaby,” sharing transportation, lodging, wax and race support keeps costs down for the athletes from both teams.”

Husaby notes, “The COCC Nordic Ski Club has been developing steadily over the last three years. Both the level of participation and commitment is rising from the COCC athletes and in that time, we have prepared and supported 5 athletes for national competitions at the collegiate level. We’re pleased with the growth and development of the club and are excited to have athletes from outside of Central Oregon expressing an interest in attending COCC and joining the club in the future.”

Last season, COCC sent Sam Schwarz, Joe Madden and Brian Jorgensen to Sun Valley Idaho to compete in the championships. The team participated in skate sprint, distance classic, and distance skate events, placing 7th overall.

Isabel Smith racing in West Yellowstone, MT    Photo: Matt Whitcomb

Athlete Interviews:

Brian Jorgensen, COCC Nordic Ski Club

My season is going well.  I have had some good results at the citizen/JOQ races I have done this season and feel like I am getting more confident in my racing ability.So far I have done two races and that is one more race than I did last year going into nationals; so, the increased amount of racing and strength sessions are preparing me for nationals.

The first race I did this season in Leavenworth I finished second.  I was pleased because there was some good competition and I was able to keep up without destroying myself early in the race.

I am looking forward to the skate distance race.  I had my best result in that race last year and feel like I can improve this year.

Ian Neubauer, COCC Nordic Ski Club

This season has gone really well as it has been a great opportunity for me to train and race with other kids who are much stronger skiers than me. It has been eye opening to say the least, but I feel like I have improved substantially since the start of the season.

For Nationals training, we started off with two weeks of pretty tough training consisting of intervals and strength exercises, and now for these last two weeks we have slowed it down a bit and really focused more on technique and mental preparation.

As for some of my results this season, the best would be from the trip to Spokane Washington. The classic race went smoothly and I placed where I usually do, but it was the skate race that I raced well and I placed much higher than normal, and it proved that I had in fact improved over the season.

At Nationals I would say I’m most excited for the classic races, as I have really been working a lot these last few weeks on my classic technique. It will be fun to try to apply all the things I’ve learned into a race, and I am anxious to see how it will turn out.

As a full time engineering student, it has been very challenging to try to fit skiing and school into my schedule, and admittedly I have had to put things off that I probably shouldn’t.  I really have to stay organized and take advantage of any bits of time. I take my books with me when we travel, and I have had many late nights studying and trying to catch up. But honestly, it has been worth it and I would do it again if given the option. Of course, maybe I should hold my tongue as I have yet to receive my mid-term grades…