Jack Petrone, a junior at Glastonbury High School, won a U.S. Skiing Junior National Championship at Utah’s Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.
Petrone called the entire experience “surreal” and added that the win was the great way to finish off a memorable couple of days in an incredible venue.
“Being with all of [the other skiers] in the same spot and competing against them is something that we normally don’t do, so it is extra special when we’re all together.”
Petrone defeated a strong national field in the downhill mogul, a freestyle event consisting of a timed run on a steep, heavily ridged course, stressing technical turns, aerial maneuvers and speed.
In the mogul competition, skiers are judged and scored on three criteria. 60% is judged on the technicality of the turns, 25% is judged on the form and difficulty of the air jumps, and 15% is scored on speed.
At the event, the top 80 males—18-years or younger—across the United States each get two mogul runs. The judges narrow the field down to the top 20 skiers, who then perform an additional run to determine the champion.
Petrone edged the top-20 after completing what he called “the perfect run” adding, “It was by far my best one of my season. It all fell together when I needed to.”
It was the local skiers second year in a row competing at the massive facility, which was originally built to house the 2002 Winter Olympics when they took place in Utah two decades ago.
“Last year I was super hyped to ski where all the greats have skied and this year I just focused in and got it done,” added Petrone.
He entered the competition with a top-five ranking, but was unsure of how well he would fare after recently sustaining a sprained Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) after taking a spill into the woods and a concussion on a jump.
The setbacks had no effect and the result was the first national championship for the 17-year old. He had previously won regional competitions, but never a title on a national stage.
Petrone trains at the Killington Mountain School, which is based out of Killington, Vermont.
His parents, James and Mary Petrone, originally met at Killington Mountain and the family made it a tradition to frequent the resort when he was growing up.
Petrone then started training at the Vermont-based school on the weekend program, eventually moving up to the one month program and has now trains in the four-month program, which he has done since entering high school.
Along with making him a national champion, skiing has also allowed Petrone to travel the world, which he called “the coolest part.”
Last year he skied in Finland, saying his first time in Europe was “an eye-opening experience.”
Canada, Colorado, Utah, and a tour of the East Coast were also destinations over the past 12 months.
Now that the competitive skiing season is over, Petrone turns his attention to the baseball diamond, where he plays for the GHS. He also plays football for the school, earning all-conference as a physical running back and linebacker for the Guardians in the fall.
This summer he will train on the slopes in either Canada or Mount Hood, Oregon.
He’ll ski one more season at the junior level before competing against the best-of-the-best.
Petrone said that his goal is to continue to compete around the world in hopes of one day qualifying for the Olympic Games.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin