SVSEF athletes of the month are selected collectively by program directors, based on successful athletic performance in competition. Logan Smith, a skier with the cross country comp team, and Ben Fethke, a member of the park & pipe progression team, are the athletes of the month for March.
LOGAN SMITH, 14, Cross Country Comp Team
By Rick Kapala, cross country program director
Logan has jumped into the US Ski Racing scene by making a big splash this year. We knew Logan was likely to make the transition to Comp team from Prep Team based on her previous success as a U14, but her rookie season showed us and the ski world that she was more than ready to make the next step. She put together a really solid Intermountain campaign with JN Qualifying wins across all disciplines. She carried that success to Junior Nationals where she opened with a really solid fourth in the U16 girls 5km classic.
That in and of itself would have been considered a great first result for her first Junior Nationals, especially since she is actually a second year U14 and is competing at Junior Nationals a year early. However, Logan had more to show when she put together a great day in the individual sprint and WON herself a US Junior National Title. She did it by decisively charging the hardest part of the race course with a burst of ski speed that separated herself, and then backed it up with a furious charge down the finish straight. Congrats, Logan, for showing us once again what a tremendous work ethic combined with a love of challenge can accomplish.
BEN FETHKE, 11, Park and Pipe Progression Team
Taking initiative gets you places – a good example of this was when Ben Fethke opted to travel to U.S. Freeskiing Junior Nationals in Park City in March. As an 11-year-old, Ben was the U13 national champion in halfpipe. In the overall field, which included athletes significantly older (the majority were between 15 and 19 years old), Ben was eighth – a great result, especially given the caliber of athletes and their age differences. He also competed in the slopestyle event, which was held on a course that will be used for FIS World Championships next year. He came in second for U13s, and was 50 out of 86 overall. Looking back at the past few years, both of Ben’s results (in slopestyle and halfpipe) were the best for an 11-year-old at Junior Nationals.
Taking initiative comes in different forms, and that rings true for Ben, as well. He applies himself at training, making the most of each session in preparation for putting his tricks into practice when it counts. “Ben is very motivated and hardworking,” said Park & Pipe Program Director Tyler Conway. “He has a great attitude at training, and has really elevated this aspect of the sport for himself, leading to great results this year in halfpipe and slopestyle.”
On Sunday, April 9, Ben finished first in the halfpipe for his age group at USASA Nationals. Ben has slopestyle on Tuesday and is looking to be a contender for the overall USASA title, too.