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Long, cold days worth it for Rothe, O’Connor

PVL Pipeline
By: Dave Krizman Journal Sports Columnist
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Caty O’Connor and Paige Rothe, Placer High seniors and snowboarder and skier respectively, have heard the call of the mountains and snow. It is this siren call that will greatly influence the direction of their lives. While most graduating seniors have submitted their college applications for in-state universities or community colleges, these two intrepid outdoors enthusiasts will be following the latest storm, the latest snowfall, and the latest cold front to Colorado and parts unknown. O’Connor is one of the finest female snowboarders in the country. Modest to a fault, she is quite hesitant to speak of her many successes. However, during this winter’s high school competitions, O’Connor has yet to lose a race. Understating her victories, O’Connor stated, “I’m doing pretty well so far this season.” Her love of snowboarding and her natural ability has allowed O’Connor to travel not only the state but also the country as she competes in races. Last year she competed at Mammoth Mountain for the California State CIF Championships. This past weekend she competed on the Revolution Tour in Copper Mountain, Colorado. Companies associated with snowboarding have noticed O’Connor’s many successes. GNU, a snowboarder maker, sponsors Caty as well Nike 6.0, maker of a line of snowboarding apparel. “I had skied when I was little,” O’Connor said. “But I had two older brothers who both snowboarded, so I had to be like them.” O’Connor has applied to all the usual California colleges, but said she’ll remain close to the snow. “I am unsure at this point as to where I will be,” said O’Connor, who will be gunning for a third individual state championship next month at Mount Shasta. “I don’t know what I want to do in the future. However, I do know that I just want to be snowboarding.” With a 4.33 GPA, the effusive and personable Rothe would have had the pick of just about any university in California. Lacking a close proximity to snow, none of the California schools met her criteria. So, Rothe — the daughter of Journal Executive Editor Deric Rothe — will be attending school at Colorado Community College at Boulder. There she plans gain Colorado residency and then transfer to the University of Colorado after two years, avoiding the brutal out-of-state tuition. Once in Boulder, Colo. Rothe will be just a short drive west into the Rockies from some of the most famous ski resorts in the world. The dry powder of Vail, Aspen, Steamboat Springs and Breckenridge are just a few of the resorts that will be available. Rothe was introduced to skiing by her dad at a very young age. “Dad was a skier, so I became a skier too,” she said. She has skied competitively since the age of 10. Rothe has helped the Hillgals bring home two CIF State Championship banners and Placer is the favorite to win another state crown next month at Mount Shasta. “I’m a member of the Auburn Ski Club and I have competed throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin, Mammoth, and Mt. Hood,” Rothe said. “The competitive edge of racing makes it more fun and exciting.” As a member of Placer’s ski team, Rothe and her fellow teammates miss eight Mondays of school during the ski season. At first glance, missing eight days sounds appealing, but those Mondays begin at 6:30 a.m. as the team rendezvous at the Park &Ride at Bell Road. The long drive up I-80 is followed by a day of prepping their ski equipment, inspecting the course, racing the course and then finally heading home after a long and often brutally cold day on the slopes, to be followed by homework that must be made up. Neither of these gals ever complains as they are both following a passion in their lives. Dave Krizman’s column runs Wednesdays in the Journal. Comment online at www.auburnjournal.com.