Wehan takes fifth at Junior Olympics

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Gardnerville's Bryce Wehan placed fifth in the super giant slalom to lead a strong effort by the Kirkwood Ski team at the Western Region Junior Olympics held this past weekend at Big Sky, Mont.

Gardnerville's Holden Sapp also competed in the Junior Olympics for Kirkwood. Wehan and Sapp were among 25 boys in the 13-14-year-old division from California and Nevada to qualify for the event.

Also participating in the Junior Olympics from Kirkwood was Shelby Hawthorne of Big Sur, Calif., who competed in the 13-14-year-old girls division. In addition, Erik Sambrailo of Watsonville, Calif., and Philip Frank of Los Gatos, Calif. competed for Kirkwood at the Western Region Federation of International Skiing, also known as FIS, Championships held this past weekend at Sugar Bowl.

"It was really exciting to have five of our athletes selected for these programs," Kirkwood program director Liza Bitton said. "They worked hard to get to this level and I am proud of how well they skied."

Out of 115 boys, Wehan placed fifth in the super G and 19th in the slalom. Sapp took 45th in the super G and after falling in the first run in the giant slalom, he still managed to finish in the 70s. After starting in the 90s in the slalom, Sapp was able to move up 30 spots.

"The kids really skied their hearts out," Kirkwood coach Tim Kawcak said. "Bryce won the training run in the super G and and made smoe incredible recoveries to come in fifth in the race. Holden put out a tremendous effort after coming back from being injured."

Kirkwood will host a FIS slalom race on Saturday and Sunday in which some of the best skiers 15 and older from the Tahoe area, Oregon, Idaho and across the United States will compete.

The Kirkwood ski team will finish up the season with the J4/5 Championships for 9-12-year-olds April 3-6 at Sugar Bowl. The J1-3 skiers (ages 13 and older) will end their season April 14-20 at Mammoth.


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