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Fuller overcomes slow start to ski season

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After a slow start to the race season, Folsom’s Jordan Fuller lit the afterburners and in a mere four weeks resurrected his season and qualified for the USSA J2 (under 18 years old) National Championship Race Series being held at Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Maine March 3-12. After recovering from mononucleosis, Fuller began training in last January and hit the slopes everyday to train morning, noon and night to prepare for several very important races in February. Fuller began his season competing in the FIS Elite Nationals Qualifier for Downhill and Super G at Big Sky Ski Resort. Skiing almost dead-last-99th of 106 racers, Fuller had two very good Super G finishes in days one and two and was now ready for his best event, the Downhill. The two training runs went very well with Fuller taking 36th in the first and backed it up with a 53rd on the second training run. Fuller felt that he could really do well on the very fast, technical and demanding course. In Downhill race number 1, Fuller reached speeds up 81 miles per hour and nailed the two large jumps while cutting a perfect line through the gates, climbing all the way up to 25th place, first among boys born in 1995 and winning the "Hard Charger Award" for the skier who improved his place the most (74 slots). Bad luck hit when half way through the second day of Downhill races, the weather returned and became a full blizzard by the time they got to the last 30 or 40 racers. Fuller skied well through the soft snow and still managed a 51st overall, but most importantly, had two strong finishes and scored some very good points so now gets to start much earlier in future Downhills and Super G's based on these results. Fuller was also able to string together a couple more strong finishes at Mammoth Mountain a week later, taking a 16th and a 26th in the FIS Western Region Giant Slalom qualifier. Fuller was hoping to just make Western Regional Championships, not thinking he had enough finishes to qualify for J2 Nationals. But he did make the J2 Nationals alternate list based on his very strong showing in Big Sky, and his coaches petitioned for him to go based on last year’s excellent results as a J3 Junior Olympian and his excellent results in Mammoth this year, taking into consideration that he was physically unable to train or compete for most of January. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good and Fuller was awarded the very last selection for J2 National Championships out of USSA's Western Region. Not many 15 year olds make J2 Nationals, most regions don't even consider first-year J2's at all, but the Far West Division is so strong and the first year J2 men are so remarkable, USSA awarded the Far West Division half of all the Western Regions J2 Nationals selections and the Squaw Valley Ski Team got half of the Far West selections. Fuller returns from J2 Nationals to a busy race schedule including a Mid-J3 Open GS at Alpine Meadows, The Sierra Crest Cup at Squaw Valley in late March, Far West Champs at Sugar Bowl and Heavenly in early April, a Western Region Elite FIS race series at Mission Ridge Washington, another speed series at Mt Bachelor, Ore. and finally the season finale, the Western Regional Speed Champs at Mammoth the last week of April. With a bit of luck and some continued strong finishes, Fuller hopes to position himself for next year to start races in the top-30 where he can really score well, with the goal of qualifying for the North American Championship Series at the end of 2012 or in 2013.