Local teen overcomes injuries to compete in junior, senior Alpine Championships
Over the last two weeks local teen Nelson Oxley has been riding a proverbial whirlwind as the 17-yard high school student competed in both the US Alpine Skiing National Championships and National Junior Championships, held on back-to-back weekends, at Sun Valley Resort in Idaho.
This is the third year in a row Oxley has qualified for the junior national championships and the second year he has competed in both the junior and adult divisions. Oxley left for Sun Valley Idaho over two weeks ago for his first competition, the 2018 Toyota US Alpine Championships, which were held March 21 through the 26. That event was followed the next week by junior nationals, which ran from March 28 to the 30.
According to results from the International Ski Federation website Oxley competed in seven separate events over the course of the two weeks. His efforts at the National Championships kicked off with the alpine combined event and were followed over the next few days by the super g, slalom, and giant slalom events. Oxley’s best showing at the adult championships came in the giant slalom event where the young man posted a 43rd place finish, out of a field of 96 competitors.
Oxley fared better in the junior nationals, taking home 31st place finish in the giant slalom, against a field of 84 male competitors, and a 25th place in the super g, in a field of 70. Oxley’s 25th place finish in the super g was a scant 4.49 seconds behind the first place competitor.
The events were a culmination of sorts for the high school junior who has been skiing for a decade and a half already at his youthful age. Nelson started competing in formal ski events about eight years ago when after joining up with the Winter Park Resort Competition Center. But despite Oxley’s years of experience and past successes this season was very much in doubt for the young man after a pair of injuries over the last year threw his training schedule out the window.
“After being pulled from a back injury at the beginning of the ski season, I focused on recovery and strength training from December to the middle of January,” Oxley said. “In my first race at Aspen, with very little training, I qualified for US Junior and Senior Nationals in Sun Valley. I am super excited to represent my home mountain of Winter Park and Grand County. I want to thank everyone who has supported me through the journey, my mom, dad, sister grandparents, coaches, trainers and my teacher for allowing me to pursue my 2017-2018 goals.”
Since wrapping up his competitions in Sun Valley Oxley has traveled south back to Colorado to prepare for events in Aspen during the first week of April, which will mark the end of his 2017-2018 competition season. Looking to the future Oxley has another year at Middle Park High School before graduation and while a potential Olympic berth may be in the offering some day he is keeping his eyes on closer targets. After graduating Oxley hopes to secure a slot on a collegiate ski team, ideally one of the 11 division one schools in the nation that field alpine squads.
Where he goes from there is anyone’s guess but the already seasoned competitor is a reminder that big things that can be achieved with perseverance and support.
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