Vail’s Gregorak makes an easy choice
VAIL, Colorado Like any high school senior, Will Gregorak had some decisions to make about his future.All winter and spring, Gregorak didnt fill out any college applications or make any campus visits, and he still got an offer he couldnt refuse.It ended up working out better than I thought, said Gregorak, a senior at the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy and soon-to-be U.S. Ski Team member.I was going to take a postgraduate year and just focus on skiing if I didnt make the U.S. Team, Gregorak said.Last month, Gregorak was nominated to the U.S. Development team, and like any student who gets a free ride to an Ivy League school, he accepted.Its pretty cool, said the modest Gregorak.The U.S. Team only handed out five new bids for the mens squad, with four coming at the Development level.Its a fantastic achievement for Will, said Aldo Radamus, the executive director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. He becomes the first male (Ski and Snowboard Club Vail) athlete to make the step to the national level in 10 years.Tyler Shepherd, the current U.S. Ski Cross head coach, was nominated to the Development team in 1998. U.S. Ski Team Alpine Director Jesse Hunt said the criteria to make next seasons team was quite high.It reveals whether or not an athlete is internationally competitive in their peer group, Hunt said. Will popped up in that criteria.In the most recent International Ski Federation points listing, Gregorak has the second-lowest points for his birth year (1990) in slalom, the third-lowest in giant slalom and the fourth-lowest in downhill. (Skiers work to lower their points, which they do with top finishes among good competition.)After a solid showing at U.S. Nationals, where he took 15th in the downhill and eighth in the giant slalom, Gregorak had a phenomenal spring, beating U.S. Team members at races in Beaver Creek and in Mammoth, Calif.
While it can often be hard for skiers to take time off, Gregorak didnt have much of a choice this spring. Recently, Gregorak had surgery on his heels to remove bone spurs.Im doing all right, he said. I dont have any more pain, and I can kind of walk now.Gregorak will have to refrain from strenuous activity for about a few , then he can start working out and get back his ski boots. At the end of the month, Gregorak will head to San Diego with the rest of the Development team for a dry-land camp, although Gregorak will likely sit out. There wont be too much of a need for a meet-and-greet with the other two new Development team skiers who accepted their bids, Michael Ankeny and Nick Daniels.Nick and I are good friends hes stayed at my house a couple times, Gregorak said. Mikes dad and my dad are really good friends.Next month, Gregorak will be part of the first graduating class of the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy. While he wants to eventually go to college, Gregorak said it can wait for a while. Hes got a pretty good job in the meantime.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or email@example.com.