Sam Morse dreams some day of skiing on the World Cup circuit and possibly in the Olympics. Tuesday he took a first big step.
Morse, a post-grad student at Carrabassett Valley Academy, was named to the U.S. junior world Alpine team that will compete in the world championships Feb. 26-March 6 at Jasna Resort in Slovakia.
At 17, Morse is the youngest member of the 16-member team. He is considered the No. 1 downhill prospect in his age group (U-18) in the country.
Chip Cochrane, one of Morse’s coaches at CVA, said it is rare that a skier not on the U.S. ski team is selected.
“But he’s skied past a lot of those guys in races this year,’’ said Cochrane, who also coached U.S. Olympian Bode Miller. “He got the job done. He’s beat the guys he needed to beat to get the job done.’’
Morse, who was unavailable for comment on Tuesday, had said in a previous interview that his long-term goal is to ski in the World Cup.
He has been accepted at Dartmouth College, where his older brother, Ben, is captain of the ski team. But college may be put on hold.
“Everyone has the dream of making the World Cup,’’ said Sam Morse. “The Olympics would be sweet, but the Olympics only happen every four years and that’s pretty tough. The dream is definitely the World Cup, for sure.’’
To do that, said Morse, “I may have to take two or three years off (from going to college) to focus on making the U.S. ski team and then, from there, it’s a long road to the World Cup.’’
Morse, who graduated from CVA in 2013, has had a great season, according to Cochrane. His best events are the downhill and super-G – the sport’s speed events – but he is also technically proficient at the slalom and giant slalom.
“He’s a good four-event skier,’’ said Cochrane.
“His strength is his well-roundedness. He has confidence in his abilities, he knows himself and has a willingness to apply himself at a high level.’’
Cochrane said it was obvious when Morse arrived at CVA as a freshman that he was different from other skiers.
“He was a focused kid from the get-go,’’ said Cochrane. “A lot of dedication, hard work and clean living. He put a lot into it.’’
Others may have been just as hard working but Cochrane said Morse took his training to another level.
“Sam goes closer to his potential every day out there,’’ said Cochrane. “Sam has very good technique. He backs up good skiing with good fundamentals.
“And he hasn’t relied on his coaches to tell him what to do. He listens, runs what you say through his mind, then works diligently on what you told him. He’s worked hard on his weaknesses to strengthen them. And he doesn’t have many weaknesses any more.’’
Cochrane believes Morse is the first CVA student to make the world junior Alpine team in at least 20 years.
The last, he said, was Kirsten Clark-Richenbach of Raymond. Fittingly, Morse said that Clark-Richenbach was one of the CVA graduates he looks up to. “She is a source of inspiration,’’ he said, “driven in the classroom and on the hill.’’
Mike Lowe can be reached at 791-6422 or at: