By: Thaddeus Coop

Ski instructor at Laramie High School Rebecca Watson takes four students to Minnesota to represent Wyoming in the Junior National Ski Competition.

Students Emmet Shuman, Emmet Gray, Eliza Fay, and Jack Voos all qualified to ski in nationals alongside 23 other students ready to compete in Minnesota for the first place spot.

While there were only four students from Laramie, the High Plains part of Wyoming had brought 27 kids, which is known to be a lot from Wyoming considering the competitive nature of the competition and how small Wyoming’s population really is compared to the other states.

To make it into nationals you must have a complete understanding of how to ski well and you must have the skill to back it up.

Not only do you just have to ski well but you also have to do a great job and ski very well all season making the spot in nationals a very tight spot to get.

“In order to qualify you have to be within 10 percent back from the leaders of the race and so it’s pretty competitive,” Watson said.

Though the weather was very cold Watson stopped at nothing to ensure the safety of her students.

Watson waxed skis every morning and personally checked them herself.

“I would get there early and try out different combinations of wax and do what I call hot laps which are basically just shorter laps so definitely got some (miles) in for sure,” said Watson.

The two highest-ranking students from Wyoming were Caleb Simonson from Lander and Allie Wheeler from Casper, while the students from LHS didn’t quite rank that high they were focusing more on the experience and having a great time hitting the slopes and relaxing.

Both of those students did very well, both making their way into the Top 20 spots in the races.

Overall, in the national race, there were over 300 students brought up and ready to ski from all over the nation ranging from Wyoming to Alaska.

The students were all broken up into age groups, still leaving about 99 to 100 athletes per group.

This year, Watson celebrates her 20th year as a Ski Instructor for LHS and has no plans to stop now anytime soon.

“I still really love it so I figured as long as I’m still loving it, I should keep doing it,” Watson said.

There was a small award ceremony at the school to celebrate all the students on the ski team and recognize them for their hard work and determination, and also commemorate Watson and her work as an instructor.

Everyone got recognition for something they do well on the ski team and Watson’s athletes made two cakes for their coach to show their appreciation of how she has taught them to get better at what they love.