Hannah Soar

By Gayla Cawley

February 13, 2014

TheSportsDept.com

 

Teenager Hannah Soar, 14, of Somers, is making strides on the ski slopes and if she stays on course, might be ending her run at the Winter Olympics in South Korea in 2018.

Soar, a freshman, transferred from Somers High School on Nov. 4 to attend Vermont’s Killington Mountain School, a school that specializes in training alpine skiers and snowboarders, for five months before she transfers back to Somers in April.  Soar said attending KMS during the ski season is necessary because she began missing too many school days due to her training and competition schedule.

Soar doesn’t mind as she remembers hitting the slopes at as young as two years old.

“I started skiing at age 2,” Soar said.  “My parents were big skiers.  At that age, they put you on a leash and send you down.”

Soar competes as a mogul, or freestyle skier. Her father Tom, said watching his daughter compete gets him nervous.

“She’s coming down a 26 inch pitch slope on a 230 meter long course at 25 mph,” Tom Soar said.  “It’s nerve wracking.  I get nervous every single time.  You really have to have it in yourself — an inner strength.”

Her father said he noticed Hannah was special at just three years old.

“She was skiing on the outer limits at Killington by that age,” Tom Soar said.  “The outer limits have produced a lot of world class competitors and champions.  She’s just really put herself in that kind of class.”

Soar started competing at eight years old.  She began competing in A-circuit regionals this year and has won two competitions in that circuit already.

She said the biggest competition she’s been in thus far has been this season’s opening event, the U.S. Selections in mid-December, where the top 50 in the country compete to be placed on the North American tour.  Soar said she was the youngest in the three-day competition, as a person has to be 14 years old in order to compete.  For that event, Soar said she was competing against juniors and seniors from high school, college students, and athletes in their mid-20s.

Her best day was the third day when she placed 17th internationally and 12th in the U.S. On the second day, Soar took a fall during her run, which her father said was the reason she didn’t qualify for the full NorAm Tour.

Soar will compete in various NorAm events this year.

Matt Dnoza, Soar’s coach at KMS, said he has been coaching Hannah off and on the last four years.

“What sets her apart is she’s a pure athlete,” Dnoza said.  “We’re lucky enough that she chose our sport.  Hannah is ahead of the curve for girls her age. At such a young age, she’s at the top.”

Dnoza said Soar’s training schedule is intense, as she trains daily for four to five hours per day.

He said the buckles are fastened because the 2018 Olympics are on their radar.

The training is constant whether it’s on snow, water or trampolines.  One trick in particular she’s working on is a full—a back layout (backflip) with a full 360 rotational twist, something that he said they’re aiming to have down by early March.

Dnoza, who has trained world-class competitors over the past 20 years, sees big things for Soar.

“If she stays on this current path—she has won at every level—historically, she has a better percentage to carry it through her entire career,” Dnoza said.  “She still has to balance her education with her training.  You’re always one mistake away from a career-ending mistake.  The sky is the limit for her.  Her focus is on buckling her boots up and putting the skis on. Even when it is brutally bitter cold, she never asks to take a break.”

Soar remains motivated to meet her potential.

“I strive to be the best,” Soar said.  “The worst thing is sitting there and thinking I could do better.”

 

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