Rossland’s Kaysa Panke is at the top of her game on the top of the hill in ski racing.
She was just selected for the B.C. Team at Whistler Cup, an international ski race with over 24 countries competing, based on her performance in the U14 season and the provincial finals.
In the overall U14 provincial standing for the women, Panke placed third.
She capped her club coup in the four-day, two-run combined provincial race in Whistler last weekend, winning two silver and one bronze medal
"It was fun. Fun to be around everyone,” she said about the weekend, adding that “it’s awesome” to be named to the B.C. Team.
Now Panke is looking forward to "being around the top kids” in racing in the province.
U14 provincial championships
Ninety four ladies and 104 men competed in this year's U14 Provincial Championships held at Sun Peaks Resort north of Kamloops.
The Red Mountain Racer's competing in the championships included Panke, Sammie Gaul, Gavin Patterson, Orion Humpherys, Mattias Hofmann, Noah Lunn and Logan Merringer.
All of the racers skied extremely well, resulting in 18 top 20 finishes, said Red Mountain Racers president Christine Andison.
The results included two silvers and one bronze medal performance from Panke, a fourth, sixth and ninth from Gaul and an 11th, 15th and 11th place finish by Patterson.
F”or many of our racers competing at the U14 Provincials, this was their first year in this age group and they all did incredibly well,” said Andison. “We have a very strong group of skiers coming up and they will be exciting to watch next season.”
As part of the provincial championships the overall provincial champion is awarded.
For the men, Jamie Cassleman of Kimberley was presented with the top spot. He spent the fall in France training with the Red Mountain Racers in Tignes so the team “was very excited to see him have such great success.”
In the overall provincial standing for the women, Panke placed third and Gaul ninth. Panke's results have secured her spot on the B.C. Team at the Whistler Cup International Race Series held the first week of April.
Racers’ FIS team
The Red Mountain Racers’ FIS team spent most of the past month on the road.
First they attended a speed camp followed by a race series in Kimberley, and most recently they were competing in the Washington State in Super G, Giant Slalom and Slalom races.
There were 106 racers from all over the world competing in the latest race series.
“It was a great experience for Jamis Beattie, Madison Eggert and Patrick Cometta with a good solid track,” said Andison.
Cometta was able put down a 16th place finish in Super G.
The boys are home for one week before heading to the final competitions of the year held in Whistler and Grouse.
For his effort, Cometta was awarded the most improved racer two days in a row at the Les Schwab Open last week as a result of his Super G performance where he placed 16th.
The U16 athletes are competing in the CANAM Westerns March 17-23 at Apex Mountain. Six athletes will be attending the speed camp leading up to the competition and five athletes will be competing in the race series.
The races will see approximately 250 competitors from Western Canada and the United States. This is an event for which you must qualify and, as such, the calibre of racing is very high.