SHS ski program follows the rules
Re: SHS skiers have unfair advantage (Daily Mail, Feb. 24)I usually would not respond to a letter of this nature, as I’m sure most readers were able to see the muddled thinking that went in to it; however, since the credibility and integrity of our ski program was questioned, I feel that the people of Summit County are entitled to hearing some truths. I will try and be short and deal with real facts. At the time of the state championships, the Summit High School Alpine Team roster consisted of 39 athletes. Of these athletes, 12 were members of Team Summit, four were members of Quantum Sports Club and one was a member of the Loveland Race Team. That leaves 22 members who were not members of a club and skied just on the High School Team. Those numbers would tend to demonstrate that the high school team is not the same as Team Summit. There is also a state statute that allows all club athletes to take part in high school sports. As for having members of our team wear the Team Summit jackets, that is true. When I ordered team jackets several years ago, we only had 23 members on our team, so I ordered 32 jackets. The team has since grown to 50 skiers at the start of the season, and we don’t have enough jackets, especially the larger sizes. With this in mind, I don’t have a problem with some of our athletes wearing the Team Summit jackets and exhibiting the pride they have in their club and community. The jackets still have “Summit” on them.As for the rules that we have “broken the spirit of,” CHSAA has very clear rules with real numbers that they go by. We do not break the rules. Rule No. 1 that Mr. Varga tries to reference are two separate rules. I will quote from the CHSAA Ski Bulletin. “Q1: May student athletes be involved in non-school sponsored camps, clinics, practices and competitions during December 24th through January 1st? A1: Yes. In these situations, high school coaches or faculty members may not be involved.”There is no “wink, wink” here. I abide by the rules and have not broken them.Rule No. 2: Athlete sponsorships. I will again quote the actual rule and not the one made up by Mr. Varga. “A team or individidual athletes may be sponsored by an outside organization provided that all outside equipment and travel are cleared in writing with the Athletic Director, during the high school season.” It would be great to think our athletes had made the cut to be sponsored, but that is not the case. We do not have sponsored athletes.Rule No. 3: “All CHSAA ski events are to follow USSA rules for J1 and J2 races.” Actually high school racing does not follow any USSA rules. Our rules are based on the CHSAA Bulletin, NCAA Men’s and Women’s Skiing rules and FIS rules when an instance occurs where CHSAA and NCAA do not cover a rule. As for ski length, high school aged athletes fit into several categories for this rule. The older kids have a different rule than the younger ones. What is absurd is to think that an older athlete who races in high school would have separate equipment for a USSA race.Rule No. 4: “No sports academy is allowed to compete in a CHSSA event.” This is not true; any high school can compete in CHSAA events as long as they follow the rules of membership to CHSAA. That’s a choice made by every school in the state. CHSAA has strict rules of academic eligibility as well as the club teams. Rest assured that our athletes meet the requirements for academic eligibilty or they don’t get to participate. We have had skiers miss races, the season and states due to academic eligibility.I am very proud of our ski program and consider it one of the best in the country. We do get great support from the community, the ski areas, the club teams and the school. That is something we should all be proud of. Our athletes have worked long and hard to reach the level that they are at. They were not “born on third base and think they hit a triple.” They have sacrificed, their parents have sacrificed and ultimately they made a decision to support ski racing. And you see Mr. Varga, that is the American way: We don’t just annoint somebody a winner, we earn it.
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