Newcomers Make Mark at U.S. Alpine Nationals

April 03, 2009, 11:22 a.m. (ET)

WINTER PARK, Colo.--Two athletes new to the alpine skiing scene have made quite the impression at the 2009 U.S. Adaptive Alpine National Championships this week.  Alana Nichols (sit-ski; Farmington, N.M.) and Heath Calhoun (sit-ski; Bristol, Tenn.) finished the competition by claiming their first-ever national titles with wins in their respective Super G events.

Nichols is coming off a gold medal win with the U.S. women's wheelchair basketball team at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing and is now looking to earn a spot on the 2010 U.S. Paralympic Team that will compete at the Winter Games in Vancouver.

Calhoun is an Iraq war veteran who lost both his legs above the knee in an RPG attack.  Now, he is national ski racing champion and making great strides toward representing the U.S. at the Paralympic Winter Games next year.

"Nothing would make me more proud than to be able to represent the United States at a world class competition and hopefully bring home a gold medal for our country," said Calhoun.

The week-long competition wrapped with the super combined event.  Laurie Stephens (sit-ski; Wenham, Mass.), Allison Jones (standing; Colorado Springs, Colo.), Tyler Walker (sit-ski; Franconia, N.H.) and Monte Meier (standing; Park City, Utah) each took national titles in that event.

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