Gogolen third at tele nationals | SummitDaily.com

Gogolen third at tele nationals

With one run left in Thursday’s sprint classic race at the U.S. Telemark National Championships in Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge skier Tommy Gogolen sat in fourth place.

Against the top skiers in the country, not to mention the entire U.S. National Team, the relative newcomer to the sport of tele racing was one run away from earning a medal in the country’s most prestigious race.

“I was pretty nervous knowing that the podium was in my grasp,” he said. ” … But it was just one of those runs that I put it all together.”

Gogolen made it through the giant slalom portion and the jump (standard in tele races) with only two minor penalties, allowing him to push through the finish in the race’s skate portion and right onto the podium in third place.

“I’m just extremely excited,” he said. “It was the best race of my life.”

Oddly enough, Gogolen didn’t actually step onto the podium. Immediately after completing the race, he hopped in his car and drove from Howelsen Hill all the way to Denver where he coached the Summit High girls’ soccer team against St. Mary’s Academy.

“I actually found out how I finished while I was driving,” he said. “It made it a great drive.”

Gogolen just returned from the World Telemark Ski Championships in Rjukan, Norway, where he had respectable finishes against the world’s best. He said that experience has helped him drastically.

“I’ve just improved so much from watching and talking with those guys,” he said.

Gogolen, 29, is hoping to earn a spot on the national squad. With more performances like Thursday’s – in which he beat all but two of the team’s top skiers – it seems he’s well on his way.

Silverthorne’s Drew Hauser, the 2009 national champ and World Junior champ, finished eighth in the race.

The competition continues today through Sunday. For more information, visit http://www.ustsa.org.

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