The Medal Stand returns to today’s Post Register with an update on Rigby snowboarder Jessika Jenson. There will in fact be a full story on her and this Olympic season. It should publish by the end of next week with photos.
Today’s column also has an update on Madison grad Chari Hawkins, who has moved to the United Kingdom.
The Medal Stand: Familiar territory for Rigby’s Jenson
By MARLOWE HEREFORD
The whirlwind schedule will start soon enough for Rigby snowboarder Jessika Jenson.
Four years ago, Jenson was making final preparations for the 2013-14 season which would determine who would represent the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Jenson snagged the fourth and last spot for the U.S. women’s slopestyle snowboarding team in the final Olympic qualifier in January 2014 to become eastern Idaho’s first winter Olympian since 1964. She has traveled to every continent except Antarctica and competed as far away as Japan, Australia, China and Spain since then, and the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, are less than five months away.
“I‘m just stoked that I’m feeling good and 100 percent leading into an Olympic year,” Jenson said Tuesday in a phone interview before leaving Idaho for Park City, Utah. She and the U.S. team leave Oct. 7 for training camp in Austria.
Slopestyle made its Olympic debut at Sochi 2014, making for new team selection processes for a new sport. Big air, which Jenson has also competed in over the last four years, makes its Olympic debut at Pyeongchang 2018. It is common for snowboarders to compete in both slopestyle and big air, and the 2018 U.S. Olympic team selection process is taking that into account. To Jenson’s knowledge, the U.S. will be eligible to send four women to Pyongchang to compete in both slopestyle and big air as long as four U.S. women are among the top ranked big air and slopestyle snowboarders in the FIS rankings by January. Three slopestyle Olympic qualifying events and one big air qualifier remain between now and January. Jenson and her 2014 slopestyle teammates—Karly Shorr, Ty Walker and defending Olympic champion Jamie Anderson—are all vying for those spots as well as pro team newcomers Hailey Langland and Julia Marino.
“Making the Olympic team for Team USA is probably the hardest team to make in women’s snowboard slopestyle,” Jenson said. “My main focus is I need to take advantage of every opportunity that I have to train and make the most of every day.”
Look for a full story on Jenson and the Olympic season in the Post Register soon.
HAWKINS MOVING TO THE UNITED KINGDOM: Chari Hawkins shared via Instagram that she is moving to England to attend the University of Bath to complete her Master’s Degree and compete for them in track this academic year. A 2010 Madison graduate and five-time All-American at Utah State, Hawkins has been a professional heptathlete with the Santa Barbara Track Club since fall 2015. She left Wednesday for England.
Coming up locally
The fifth annual Miles for Montessori 5k and kids 1k fun run is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at Ryder Park in Idaho Falls. Proceeds benefit Snake River Montessori School.
The Third annual Run to Break the Chain 5k/10k/ half marathon takes place Saturday at Smith Park in Rexburg. Start times are as follows: 8 a.m. for the half marathon, 8:15 a.m. for the 10k and 8:30 a.m. for the 5k. All proceeds will be donated to Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), an organization that helps liberate children in the sex slave industry.
Team USA Update
The U.S. women’s national team has won two games over New Zealand in the last six days. In the 3-1 win in Commerce City, Colo., on Sept. 15, Kelley O’Hara got her 100th cap, Julie Ertz scored twice and Boise native and Centennial High School graduate Sofia Huerta assisted Alex Morgan on a goal. It was the first USWNT cap for Huerta, a Chicago Red Stars midfielder/striker who is the first player from Idaho to get a cap for the USWNT. She represented Mexico at the U-20 level, but was granted temporary change of national association from FIFA on Sept. 14 to allow her to play for the USWNT. Morgan scored twice in Tuesday’s 5-0 win in Cincinnati to bring her career total to 77, putting her at No. 7 on the USWNT’s all-time scoring list.
Blaine County native and Olympic champion Picabo Street was among those inducted into the Alf Engen Ski Museum Hall of Fame at Utah Olympic Park in Park City on Wednesday. The other 2017 inductees were Dean Roberts (posthumous), Dick Mitchell (posthumous) and Harry Baxter.