The center of the circle | ParkRecord.com

The center of the circle

Christopher Kamrani, Of the Record staff

The Youth Winter Sports Alliance (YWSA) doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to honoring local junior athletes for their accomplishments.

That was the case Wednesday evening as the YWSA honored 73 junior athletes from 13 local winter-sports programs in the fifth-annual "Circle of Excellence" award ceremony.

"We had about 230 people there," said Aimee Preston, executive director of YWSA. "The room was full of amazing talents, not only current junior athletes. There were also coaches giving back to aspiring junior athletes.

"It was incredible how many Olympians reside in our community and were in that room. We awarded Hall of Fame awards recognizing the success of former athletes who were bred and went through program we support."

The event, held at the Newpark Resort Hotel, honored Parkites Ted Ligety and Brett Camerota with Hall of Fame inductions. In order to be eligible for the YWSA Hall of Fame, athletes must have been gone from their respective local programs for five years. Ligety, a former Park City Ski Team star, and Camerota, formerly of the Park City Nordic Ski Club, were just a couple of the athletes honored.

Ligety, a 2006 Olympic Winter Games gold medalist and two-time World Cup giant slalom champion, wasn’t able to attend the event. But Brett Camerota, who won a silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, was on hand to accept the award and spoke to the crowd, and most specifically, the junior athletes.

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The Circle of Excellence Awards recognize that year’s top five percent of athletes, according to Preston, and the ceremony now has more than 1,000 athletes to choose from.

"Any kid that’s part of one of our programs that’s had success in the last year was there," she said. "We have an amazing amount of talent in this community."

The Circle of Excellence Leadership Award, which recognizes an individual whose leadership has made an impact on teammates, was given to Christiana Dudik of the Park City Figure Skating Club.

The Showstopper Award, recognizing an athlete who has experienced a moment during the year that has left a lasting memory, was given Griffin Rasmussen.

Two Spirit of Service Awards, which recognize dedication, were given to Pete Dunmire of the Summit Ski Team and Russ Coburn, who was instrumental in forming the YWSA.

"It takes an amazing amount of volunteer commitment and power to make sports run," Preston said.

For more information about the Circle of Excellence reception and the Youth Winter Sports Alliance, call (435) 214.0792 or visit http://www.ywsa.org.