Updated: Mar 25
Wow! Junior Nationals was not what I imagined at all.
The course was at U.O.P (Utah Olympic Park) and when I heard this information I imagined this course to be a huge, steep, scary course that would be very difficult for me and others. When I got there I was completely caught off guard. The course was nowhere near steep, the bumps were tiny, the airs were relatively small and there were like 2 pitch changes.
Friday was our first day on the course. Before my first training run, while I was slipping, I was thinking to myself, this course is going to be a piece of cake. It looked so easy. What I wasn't thinking was that I only had three days of training, due to an injury, before this comp. Yet, for some reason, my confidence was through the roof.
My first training run was mediocre. I got down the course but definitely not with ease. The day went by and training was finished, things weren't looking good. I probably only had about two runs that I felt confident with out of the 10. I was so frustrated and so mad that this was how the day turned out.
At the same time, I was watching my friends and they were all crushing this course, all of them. I completely lost track of myself because I was so focused on how good they were doing. When we got to our house I calmed myself down and I told myself that it was just a bad day and that I will do better when it comes to competition day. ( I was wrong) The next day the men were competing and the women were all watching. I am gonna be 100 percent honest the guys are just so much better than the girls and I should have watched and studied them but I didn't, I was too busy hanging out with my friends. That was a really bad decision.
When the men were done with their day I watched probably 15 to 20 of the one hundred men that competed. Later that night I was talking with my dad and he told me to watch some mogul videos. I watched about ten minutes of it then put it away without really paying attention. I went to bed early for the competition day and woke up feeling rested. I got a good breakfast in me and my team headed over to the course super early. During the morning training, I didn't really have very good runs. I was struggling with my 360s a lot and I had no idea why. After training ended I went down to the bottom of the course and hung out and rested for a long time because I was going late in the run order. My dad told me to watch videos so I did.
This time I really studied a lot of different great skiers hard and I watched their technique. I especially focused on Hannah Kearney's beautiful 360 and how floaty it was. When it came to my run it was decent but the thing that really stood out was my 360 it was big it was floaty and it was my best 360 of the competition. The reason for that was I got the big 360 technique locked in my head and my body was able to use that information to execute in my live run. Unfortunately, in spite of my 360, I was pretty disappointed in my first run, it was just mediocre. I had a few bobbles and I was just really tense. The worst part of the whole thing was that at the bottom of the run everyone was telling me how good it was when I knew it was just ok.
The first round scores came out and I was in 39th out of 90 women, ages 11-19.
My second run came and I was thinking what have I got to get loose so I just sent it. I went faster and bigger. This did result in more bobbles and a smaller score but I just felt more satisfied that I tried my best. At the end of the day, the final results came out and I got 52nd. I was devastated. I was crying and upset. My lowest place all year had been 10th. I was ranked #1 for my age group (F13) for most of the season. It was very difficult to accept that not only did I come in 51st, but I also came in 3rd in F13. I was no longer the number one F13 skier in the country. It was hard.
When eventually I came to my senses, I realized I set my expectations way too high.
On February 12th, I fell in training and bruised my tibia, and strained my knee. They originally thought I tore my ACL. I was super lucky they were wrong, but I was still out for 4-6 weeks. This meant, I only got three days of training before Jr Nationals. I literally started skiing, just days before this giant comp. Right before my injury in February my coach and I set new goals for the rest of the season, which were to have a backflip and a 360 mute grab prepared for this competition. Not only when I missed this time I was not able to do this but my skiing wasn't really up to par technically from where I left off before my injury. This was devastating because I had everything set up and it just all crumbled apart. In hindsight, I should not have competed or lowered my expectations and taken pressure off of myself.
There is a quote I love from Muhammad Ali;
"The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights."
This quote really stood out now showing me that hard work, when no one is watching is how you win because that is what really matters. The hard work you do in practice will guarantee that you do well and reach your potential, not just the slim chance that you get lucky. I didn't get as much practice, and it was clear in my performance.
That night when we got home I just calmed down and I had so much fun and I was so glad that I changed my attitude. The next day came and it was duals. I was dualing a 13-year-old girl and I lost. The dual was so close. I beat her in turns but she had me in speed and airs by a smidge. I wanted to beat this girl so bad for personal reasons and when I lost that got me so sad.
In the end, I wiped my tears away and realized there is nothing I could do about it and it is in the past so crying won't do me any good. I changed my attitude and I just had fun.
And know, I'm going to train as hard as I can this summer then come back and show them what I can really do.
This experience was so cool. Even though I didn't have a successful weekend, I really did actually have a successful weekend.
PS: I want to congratulate my friend Mahlia. The girl in the middle who won the F13 title. She's 12 and skied incredibly. She took 18th overall. I'm so proud of her. She even outskied the F15 girls. Watch for her!