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Sitter headed to Junior Olympics

March 04, 2009 | 09:44 AM
Williams Bay — Local sixth-grader Jamie Sitter has realized her dream.

Thanks to a solid performance at the United States Ski and Snowboard Association Junior Olympics qualifying event Feb. 21 in Marquette, Mich., the 12-year-old will compete in the Junior Olympics March 17 in Winter Park, Colo. Her dad, Steve, is excited for Jamie's first trip to the Junior Olympics.

"After the races were over, we all gathered in a big auditorium for the awards," he said. "After the top 10 places are announced, they start calling names. We kind of knew she would make it, but nothing is for sure until the name gets called."

Jamie finished 19th out of 40 overall in the J4 level, which is for 11- and 12-year-olds. The top 27 make it to the Olympics from the Central Region, which comprises 12 states from the Midwest. She competed in nine races from Feb. 19 through 21, and the top five counted. There were three races each in the giant slalom; slalom, where racers knock down gates using shin pads; and Super G, the fastest course. Jamie took each race in stride.

"She was a little nervous going into the race because she wiped out a couple times at Cascade (Mountain, near Portage) the week before," Steve said. "But all the nervousness went away once she stepped into the start gate. Then she started thinking about what her coaches told her and the main points of the course. There were too many things going through her head for her to be nervous."

Steve said that Jamie faced stiff competition from local kids.

"Many of the kids go to school around Marquette," he said. "They're just tearing up the course, and they race all the time. That's all they do, so it was pretty good for Jamie to finish that high."

Though it was the fastest and most challenging course, Jamie had the most success in the Super G.

"She already had six good races under her belt," Steve said. "By the time the race came around, she had so much confidence. It's the fastest race, and she likes the speed."

For the next couple weeks leading up to the Olympics, Jamie will continue to train with the Wilmot J Team for the Wisconsin/Illinois Junior Alpine Racing Association (WIJARA). Then, it's off to Colorado March 16. Steve and Jamie will head out first. Jamie's mom, Deb, and sister, Caitlin will meet them March 18. Steve understands that it will be a challenge as Jamie will face around 100 competitors in the giant slalom, slalom and Super G.

"The runs there will be twice or three times as long as the courses around here," Steve said. "It's a big difference. A lot of the kids are spent on a 40-second course, but there will be minute and a half runs in Colorado. It's new to all of us."

While competition is always important, Steve is just happy Jamie is headed to the Olympics.

"It's more about the experience," he said. "It's a long course and the pressure can be crazy. It will tough for Jamie just getting a feel for it. She's comfortable with it. She along with everybody is there for fun."

For Jamie, it's business as usual.

"She doesn't even talk about it. She's working on school and all that stuff. But she does really want to practice for this."

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