Published: 03/22/2022 21:12:46
Modified: 03/22/2022 21:11:54
Caleb Zuckerman, a sophomore at Hanover High, got the opportunity of a lifetime when he competed at the World Junior Nordic Skiing Championships earlier this month in Zakopane, Poland, as a member of the US Nordic Combined Team.
Zuckerman competed with the Upper Valley Ford Sayre Ski Council since he was a freshman and quickly fell in love with cross-country skiing and ski jumping, so the opportunity to do both was too good to pass up. to pass. He helped Team USA place seventh in the Normal Hill/4-by-3.75-kilometre mixed team competition and eighth in the Normal Hill/4-by-5K event.
the Valley News caught up with Zuckerman to learn more about his experience in Poland. This interview has been lightly condensed and edited for clarity and conciseness.
Valley News: How long has ski racing represented for you?
Caleb Zuckermann: It certainly takes me a long time. I missed a little over a month of school this year, like the past two years. I probably have over 500 hours of training every year.
NV: How did this particular opportunity come about and how were you able to qualify?
Zuckerman: There are three qualifying events here in the United States. There is one in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.; one in Lake Placid, NY; and one in Eau Claire, Wis. They take your finish times at the end of the Nordic race and add them all together, and the lowest times qualify for the Junior World Championships. At the start of this year, I wasn’t sure if I was going to qualify or not, but the competitive season started and I was doing pretty well. I was quite surprised that the opportunity presented itself to me this year.
NV: How do Nordic combined races work?
Zuckermann: It’s cross-country skiing and ski jumping. First we have the ski jumping event, and they calculate the points for that, and they start the Nordic (ski) race later in the day. They stagger the start depending on how many points you have from the jump.
NV: What was it like traveling with the rest of the American team?
Zuckermann: It was my first time traveling overseas to compete, so it was pretty exciting. I was in Europe for three weeks traveling with the Junior Worlds team. Didn’t really spend much time anywhere other than the ski jumps and hotel so didn’t have much time to explore. But it was exciting. I participated in both team events. I came in as a substitute so I wasn’t sure if I was going to get a start or not, but I had two starts in both team events.
NV: Has the war in Ukraine, right next to Poland, impacted your travels or raised concerns?
Zuckermann: It seemed pretty safe at the time to be in that area. I’m sure it was watched, but I don’t think there was much concern.
NV: What kind of support have you received from your family, friends and teachers?
Zuckermann: Everyone was super supportive. The teachers have been really helpful and this support keeps me going. I can do work while I travel because a lot is online and my teachers are super understanding. They can adapt the homework for me. It worked pretty well.
NV: What have you reflected on since your return and what have you learned about yourself from this experience?
Zuckermann: This is a great opportunity for me to start competing at a higher level internationally. There are a lot of areas where I need to improve in terms of skiing skills, and that has given me more motivation to keep going and keep working. I hope to stick with it as long as possible. It’s a cool part of my life that I really enjoy.
Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected] or 603-727-3302.