2013 Drive for 25 - Cross Country

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Everyone just calls me Paolo (pow’-loh) because who wants to deal with Takagi-Atilano? Like lots of kids, I grew up participating in a couple of sports.  Then, two years ago, I joined the Boulder Nordic Junior Racing Team. At the end of my first season as a Boulder Nordie, I was one spot away from qualifying for Junior Nationals. That made me hungry to improve. I was willing, even happy, to pass on competing in other sports to train to be a faster skier. There is nothing, in my opinion, more exciting than blasting full-throttle down a trail with a pack of fast skiers. I told my coach Adam I was committed to going to nationals my second season and he said, “Nah. Aim higher. Make J2 Camp your goal.” Made sense, so I did. Nationals was in Fairbanks and was a crazy combination of intense racing, camaraderie among teenagers from across the country and a bit of healthy mischief. When the final scores were posted, I had finished among the top twenty J2s and earned an invitation to the J2 (now U16) Camp. U16 Camp is a program of the National Nordic Foundation (NNF), which extends development opportunities to young Nordic skiers.  This year it was in Marquette, Michigan, on the south shore of Lake Superior. It entailed a range of challenging skill-building activities, time trials and strength tests. We worked really hard and between training sessions, had time to get to know each other. By the end of the week, we all had a much more developed sense of what it takes to be competitive skiers and a lot of new friends. I believe strongly in giving back to the organizations that provide young people opportunities and valuable life experiences. So I’m asking you to join the NNF Drive for 25 Fundraising Campaign by giving at any level you can. There are precious few resources for Nordic skiing in the U.S. Let’s all support one that comes through every year for developing skiers.  Thank you NNF!

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This page was created by Paolo Takagi-Atilano on behalf of National Nordic Foundation.

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