Kathryn Bowen, 13, a Tucumcari Middle School student, will be competing next week for the third consecutive year in the Junior Olympics in Vail, Colo.
Only 35 girls from a field of more than 100 girls are eligible to compete in the Junior Olympics.
Bowen will be competing in the downhill, super G, slalom and giant slalom events on Wednesday through Saturday.
“The giant slalom is one I like best,” said Bowen. Right now because it is the event she’s recently performed in so well.
She finished 9th and 11th in February in the giant slalom event in the Olympic qualifier at Winter Park, Colo. This placed her in the 16th position on the qualifying list for 13-14 year olds for the Junior Olympics. She is third on this list for 13 year old girls.
The only girl from her series to qualify for three years in a row, Bowen is one of the highest performing female ski racers from New Mexico, which also makes her one of the fastest, she said.
Some of the credit she goes to her dad, Keith Bowen. “He waxes my skis and takes care of my skis so that they go fast,” Kathryn Bowen said.
Her mom, Sandy Bowen, contributes her culinary talents. She has become the team cook when the group travels, said Kathryn Bowen. “She makes sure we eat healthy. But when we’re on the road, she does take us to McDonald’s.”
Encouragement also comes from her grandparents, Charlie and Barbara Bowen, and her great-grandmother, Louise Bowen, who all live in Tucumcari.
Her training for the Junior Olympics will begin today with the Vail Ski Team. On Sunday, she joins her coach, Sean Casilly, for additional training and begins competing on Tuesday.
Bowen’s training schedule began in early November when all of the Southern Series teams met at Copper Mountain, Colo.
At Thanksgiving, she trained for the fourth year with Tichy Racing, a Czech family that works with high-level racers to develop their skills.
She also traveled in the summer to Mount Hood to train and spent the rest of the year training in Taos.
Some time is also spent training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado.
At the 2007 Junior Olympics she was the recipient of the Sportsmanship Award which is made by a vote of coaches at the event.
Bowen receives equipment and help from the Red River Ski Area, Dynastar Skis, Slalom and Fisher Skis, said Sandy Bowen.
In Tucumcari, Kathryn Bowen has been working out at the THS gym alternately working on her strengthening her arms, legs and core. She also said she rides a road bike to keep in shape for the slopes.
Bowen won all of her races in the Southern Race Series which put her in the first seed at this year’s Junior Olympic qualifying races. Her series consists of Arizona, New Mexico and southern Colorado. Bowen has also participated in the Smart Wool race series and was a forerunner for the University of New Mexico College NCAA race.
She’s also trained with the UNM skiers.
Working with the older girls has been a help. She weighs just 98 pounds, stands 4 feet, 10 inches and competing against older and larger girls used to make her feel intimidated. But a UNM skier told her: “Never let the big girls from Colorado scare you because one day you’ll be beating them.”
Kathryn Bowen said that advice has helped and “They also told me to work hard and set goals.”