Parkite moves up to ski jump with Junior National Team
Parkite Greyson Scharffs is having a good ski jumping season.
The Park City Ski and Snowboard Club alumnus moved up onto USA Nordic’s junior national team in March, where he is competing in FIS Cups and Continental Cups and hoping to land a spot at the World Junior Championships in Lahti, Finland, in January.
In FIS Cup competition at the Utah Olympic Park on Wednesday, Scharffs, 16, opened his winter season with a 12th-place finish out of 24 competitors, some as old as 23, then took sixth on Thursday.
Scharffs got his start at age 5 through a Get Out and Play, A Youth Sports Alliance program, at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School.
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“We went skiing at the Canyons, did all the winter sports and finally tried ski jumping and it kind of clicked,” he said. “I’ve been doing it ever since.”
He said since then, his peers have helped stoke his love for the sport, and helped progress through the sport’s competitive levels.
By jumping in International Ski Federation events, Scharffs accrues points that count toward his international ranking, which unlock ever-greater levels of competition, such as World Cups and World Championships.
Park City’s own Greyson Scharffs lifting off at the UOP. During the FIS Cup. pic.twitter.com/ADezE2PO29
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“It can be a little overwhelming sometimes,” Scharffs said of joining the junior national team. “But I feel like with any sport, or anything in life, you get a little bit overwhelmed, but it’s been good. Our team has been super well managed. We have a sports psych and a bunch of extra people to help us out.”
The Winter Sports School student now trains under USA Nordic junior coach Jan Druzina, who is also new to the team this year.
“He’s a good guy,” Druzina said of Scharffs. “He’s kind, he really likes to work; he’s good to coach; he makes changes so he is building up slowly, and that’s a positive.”
After Scharffs’ first jump on Wednesday night, Druzina told him he needed to tighten up his form.
“He has some issues when he comes to the air,” Druzina said. “I mean, pulling his skis up more together, grabbing the arms closer to his body so he gets more effect in the air. That’s the point where he is losing.”
After what Scharffs called a disappointing first run – scoring 82.5 – Scharffs took the bar again, only to be called off due to crosswinds.
“It happens to all of us,” he said. “You just have to keep the right mindset and keep moving.”
When the officials gave the go-ahead, he jumped again, reaching with a much longer and cleaner jump for a score of 108 – giving him a brief spot in first place before he was overtaken by subsequent jumpers, and took 12th overall.
Over the season, Druzina said Scharffs will be competing to earn consistent FIS points on a weekly basis, then try for a spot somewhere in the top 30 at the World Junior Championships.
His performances at the Utah Olympic Park provided a good base for that.
“Ski jumping is a sport where things can change fast, and if you get in good shape, anything is possible,” Druzina said.
Scharffs and the junior national team will compete in a series of FIS and Continental Cups in Europe before the World Junior Championships in mid-January.
“But he is still young, so we are not going to push him too hard,” Druzina said.
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It’s going to be at least another month before Summit County’s high school athletes have any chance of getting onto the field again.