LOCAL ATHLETE WINS PLACE ON 2011 U.S SKI TEAM
Jay Panther earned himself the prestigious place on the 2011 U.S. Freestyle Ski Team on Tuesday, December 22, 2010. Panther finished 2nd overall at the two day U.S. Ski Team 'Selection' Event in Steamboat, CO. With a 6th place finish on Sunday, December 19th, the pressure was on for Tuesday’s competition. It was a nail-biting, 11th hour adventure – Panther’s equipment was missing the morning of his first round on Tuesday. He managed to find his skis, however he couldn’t find his poles. Borrowing his coaches’ poles, he rocketed onto the 1st run qualifying course:
“Panther broke his pole halfway through the qualifying run. He was ripping, skiing awesome, when all of the sudden he had a serious bobble. He recovered and 2 turns later had another little bobble. Then he ripped the rest of the run and hit his bottom air perfectly balanced. He crossed the finish line, held up his right pole and 1/2 of it was gone. The bobbles had come at the break and when he instinctively tried to plant the pole again. The way he adjusted is quite a tribute to his strength and athleticism”. (Source: L.J. Panther, Jay Panther’s father)
Finishing 11th on his 1st run, Jay was steadfast to win his 2nd run. Borrowing another set of poles from his coach with nothing to lose, filled with sheer grit and white knuckle determination, Jay skied flawlessly taking 2nd place on his 2nd run which earned him the last spot on the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team.
“The U.S. Selection event is probably the hardest of the year”’ said Head Coach, Scott Rawles. “This is their one big shot to open the door. It really is a make or break event” (Source: Utah Skier Online 2010)
L.J. Panther, Jay Panther’s father, was able to be there for the event and he commented on his son’s success. “We went to the U.S. team coach's hotel and it was like X-mas. They laid the team gear under this huge X-mas tree. He got this huge suitcase on wheels with US ski team logos on it with a snowflake theme.....very cool. He got the team uniform which is a huge status symbol, of course. He got 3 pairs of ski pants, 3 jackets of different weights, gloves, socks, long underwear etc. etc....all with U.S. Ski team plastered all over them. It's been a long 6 years since this kid headed west to resume competitive skiing. He almost made the team a couple of times only to face disappointment. We all began to ask how much longer he was going to pursue this, but he never wavered....he would compete until he got where he wanted to go. I guess hard work really does get paid off in the end.”
Jay graduated from Ballard High School in Louisville, Kentucky, where he won the Trophy, was a Coca-Cola Scholar and also an 8 time first team academic all-state winner, as well as a President's Scholar. Jay went to Vanderbilt on a full scholarship and played baseball his freshman year before leaving to head west to compete again.
In the fall of 2010, Panther also received his “A” level beach volley card to compete professionally next summer when he can’t get to the snow. This past summer he was in Louisville, Kentucky to compete in the "Old School Side OutTournament" along with other AVP stars and local athletes.
Jay is now a member of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team. He has won International events and defeated Olympic Champions and looks forward to competing in the .
For further information, interviews, photos and videos please contact Jay Panther’s Manager – Ashleigh. E .Cromer on.