BOULDER — Ever since she watched her older sister Jessica Jortberg travel overseas to compete in an international ski competition in 2010, Boulder High School senior Lauren Jortberg has wanted to compete in the Scandinavian Cup.
Her wait is over. Lauren Jortberg qualified for the national U-18 Scandinavian Cup team this year and this week her dream will become reality.
“It’s pretty amazing. I’ve been skiing since I was four-years old,” Jortberg said. “When I saw my sister do this, I’ve always wanted to go on this trip. It’s the coolest thing ever to be able to represent the U.S. and Boulder and ski against other countries. It hasn’t hit me yet and I’ll get to go to Sweden and experience international racing. This has been my dream and my goal for a long time.”
Competing for the Boulder Nordic Junior Racing Team, Jortberg placed fifth in the classic sprint during the 2015 Senior National Cross-Country Skiing Championships last week in Houghton, Mich. For her top-five finish, she was selected to the US Ski Team’s U18 Scandinavian Cup Team that will compete Feb. 6-8 in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden.
While Jortberg is excited to have reached her older sister’s benchmark, she is just as excited that she won’t be going alone. Teammate Paolo Takagi-Atilano, who is a senior at Fairview High School, placed third 10K skate race at the Senior Nationals and was also selected to the Scandinavian Cup team.
“I guess for me the best part has been watching myself improve over the last four years,” Takagi-Atilano said. “It’s really fulfilling to see all of my hard work pay off and to achieve an accomplishment like this.”
And that’s not all.
Completing a Boulder skiing trio, Boulder Nordic Junior Racing Team coach Adam St. Pierre will travel abroad with his two top skiers and will coach the U.S. Scandinavian Cup team. This won’t be St. Pierre’s time coaching the Scandinavian Cup team but it will be his first time doing so with a pair of his own skiers on the roster.
“This is the first time coaching any, let alone two, of my own racers,” St. Pierre said. “I’ve extremely proud of Lauren and Paolo and I’m looking forward to some good results. Based on how they’ve competed against others who have been on this trip, I think we can expect them to do well.”
St. Pierre said the highest any American racer has finished at the Scandinavian Cup is fifth. He also said that Jortberg, who is a classic sprinter, and Takagi-Atilano, who specializes in the distance skate races, each has the potential to finish in the top 10, and possibly in the top five.
Their Scandinavian Cup selections also pre-qualify both Jortberg and Takagi-Atilano to compete in the U.S. Junior National Championships, which will be held in Truckee, Calif. from March 7-14.
Jortberg intends to do a post-grad year at Stratton Mountain School, a ski academy in Vermont. Takagi-Atilano will ski Division I at Dartmouth College.
Boulder Nordic Junior Racing Team racers Mina Anderberg and Luke Patil also competed at the Senior Nationals. Anderberg placed 23rd in the class sprint and Patil placed 12th in the 10K classic race.
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