Burlington, News

Youthful trio enjoys the local, national slopes

Burlington’s Annie Procter (from left), Jacob Nel-son and Jax Daams qualified for the Rocky Central U14 Junior Championships at Vail Ski Resort in Vail, Colorado last month (Submitted/Southern Lakes Newspapers)

Three students qualified for national competition

By Jason Arndt

Growing up on Browns Lake in Burlington, a young trio has spent many hours on the area waterway, ranging from swimming to sailing and other activities.

The trio – Jacob Nelson, Jax Daams, and Annie Procter – also attend Burlington Catholic School as middle school students.

“They are always out on the lake together, whether it be sailing, swimming or playing around,” said Brenda Daams, mother of Jax. “There are a lot of common interests between the three of them.”

While they have formed friendships on the lake, the three has also created bonds on the ski slopes, where they compete as members of SWATeam Racing at Alpine Valley Ski Resort near Elkhorn.

In mid-March, the trio added another common bond, qualifying for the Rocky Central U14 Junior Championships at Vail Ski Resorts in Vail, Colorado, through the United States Ski and Snowboard Association.

All three students competed in the Super G, Giant Slalom, Slalom and Dual Panel Slalom.

While the three competed in four events, Procter saw her best finish in Giant Slalom, where she placed 47th out of 105 competitors.

For Daams, he placed 35th of 88 in the Slalom, while Nelson notched 41st of of 88 competitors.

The three athletes advanced to the national competition from a regional qualifier earlier this year in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Rocky Central Junior Championships takes the top 44 boys and top 50 girls from each regional.

At the national competition, the three athletes finished in the upper half in at least one discipline, including slalom, giant slalom and Super G.

Nelson, a sixth-grade student at St. Mary, said the competition brought a series of adjustments such as growing accustomed to higher altitude.

“You do all of your training down here, and then you go out there and it changes, so you have to get used to that,” Nelson said.

For Jax Daams, who missed qualifying last year, the seventh grader said the ski hills in Colorado were much larger compared to courses in the Midwest.

“The courses were really long and really hard. It was really nerve-wracking because we were going against the whole U.S., so there was a lot of people you don’t really know,” Jax said. “(Colorado) hills made our hills look like little hills.”

Nelson, meanwhile, praised event organizers for making the event appealing before, during and after competition.

“I think it was just a great all-around event because it wasn’t just like the race,” Nelson said. “There was stuff after the event to do. It was really fun and centered around the athletes.”

While Nelson has skied in multiple disciplines, he found competition in Super G especially challenging, considering the event isn’t normally offered in the Midwest.

“I probably like Super G the most because I have never done that before,” he said.

Procter, like Daams and Nelson, competed in the national event for the first time.

Procter called the competition rigorous, however, noted she still had an enjoyable time in Colorado.

“It was pretty cool and it was really fun,” she said.

Months of training
The national appearance comes after the three months of training at Alpine Valley, competition in some Midwest events, and constant travel.

At SWATeam Racing, known as Southeastern Wisconsin Alpine Team Racing, skiers typically train two to four times a week at Alpine Valley, starting in late-December/early-January before participating in competitions.

“For about 12 weeks, I am traveling up to Michigan for races, going down to Illinois to train,” Procter said. “Then I train three days a week at Alpine Valley.”

Nelson and Daams each said the national competition carried special meaning because all three came from the same team.

“You ski against each other, but we all training together, so at the end, we all are on the team together and having fun,” Nelson said.

“It felt really awesome, we did really good,” Jax said.

SWATeam Racing serves children from six years old through their senior year of high school.

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