Ally Wheeler Makes the National U-18 Ski Team
CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Competing at the national level for anything is never an easy task. The amount of work that needs to be put into it is something many people can’t fathom. Now imagine being able to compete at this level, when you’re only 15 years old.
Ally Wheeler, a Natrona Nordic Skier made the U-18 National Ski team and will be competing for the U.S. team at the upcoming Scandinavian Cup held in Finland later in February.
She earned that right when she finished in the top 6 of the U-18 class during the 2023 U.S Cross Country Ski National Championships that were held in Houghton, Michigan this past January.
Going into the race, Ally didn’t have the international team on her mind, instead she was looking for more experience racing against the older girls.
She said, “ I wasn’t really expecting to make a team. I was kind of going into it for the experience of racing with those older girls. By the second day, I was ranked 10th out of those girls, and I had to make the top 6. I went into the classic race just wanting to make the top 6 because it seemed like more of a possibility. I still wasn’t really expecting to make it, but I finished fourth that day. ”
As soon as she crossed the finish line on that final day, she knew that she made the team. When she crossed the finish line, she said, " Well, I guess when I finished I was just kind of in a lot of pain. I didn’t really take it in until a couple of days after when I got home, and then I guess ever since then I’ve been really excited and looking forward to the trip. "
Ally is currently attending Natrona where she is a three sport athlete. Alongside Nordic Skiing, she runs cross country in the fall and track in the spring. She’s been skiing competitively for a long time, starting from a young age.
While skiing for Natrona she finished her freshman year as the All-State points leader, earning her All-State honors. During that season, one of her team mates referred to her as a ‘future Olympian.’
With that being a very real possibility for her now, she said, “ I’ve always wanted to go international and be on the U.S, ski team like Jessie Diggins and Novie McCabe and all those girls, and I guess it feels more real now. ”
Skiing wasn’t always easy for her, but that’s what made it much more appealing.
“ I kind of always did skiing because I always wanted to be doing the hardest thing possible. I think I’ve tried every sport there is, and I chose skiing because I’ve never experienced something that difficult,” she said. “ I kept pursuing it just to have fun and be with my friends while pushing myself, and the rest just fell into place. ”
Ally will be competing in the Scandinavian Cup held in Finland starting on February 15th, with the U.S. U-18 National Ski Team.
Copyright 2023 KGWN. All rights reserved.