Now it gets serious

 

CodieBascue continues to set marks that even he cannot believe.

The Whitehall High School junior, who last year tied to become the youngest bobsled driver ever to complete a full run down the Olympic track at Mount Van Hoevenburg in Lake Placid, now has his sights set on becoming an Olympian himself.

“I didn’t see myself being here at all,” said Bascue of his successes on the bobsled track. “Even coming into this season, I did not see myself in a position where I would be trying out for the United States team at the age of 16.”

Now, Bascue has a new set of goals.

“In this year, I would like to see myself ranked as a U.S. athlete, doing good at America’s Cup and Junior Worlds, and winning the race-offs for the Junior Olympic team,” he said.

A new season

Bascue has already started his training for the new season, having completed 12 runs at the Lake Placid site while sliding with some of the most prestigious names in U.S. bobsledding.

“I started sliding with (Olympic gold medalist) Steven Holcomb, and that was a pretty fun experience,” said Bascue. “It’s definitely an honor to be there and competing with Olympic athletes that are at the top of their game and at the age I am at now; it’s not seen that often.”

Bascue said everything has picked up a notch for this season.

“The competition has definitely escalated,” said Bascue.

Bascue, who started as a member of the Whitehall varsity bobsledding club, the only such high school organization in America, which is coached by his grandfather, Alan Bascue, quickly rose through the ranks of his fellow junior competitors, catching the eye of several high-level coaches.

“We knew things were getting serious just from the prominent coaches who would keep coming up to us and saying what he had for talent and the potential he showed,” said Bascue’sfather, Craig Bascue. “When we saw that this was a real possibility, we knew that it was something we had to do and help support him to accomplish his dreams.”

This year, those dreams will include the chance to compete in the America’s Cup, which starts with an international bobsled school in Park City, Utah.

“There is a lot going on this year,” said CodieBascue. “We have the school in Park City in a week, and then I will find out if I am recommended for America’s Cup.”

If Bascue qualifies, he will be racing at the bobsled tracks in Lake Placid, Park City and Calagary, Alberta, Canada.

“Those races will hopefully qualify me for the Junior Worlds in Park City,” said Bascue.

He said the winter full of races will lead to the most important competition of the year.

“In the spring, we will have the first run-offs for the Junior Olympics in 2012,” said Bascue. “There are two spots for the North American team, and that is what everything I am doing this year is focused on.”

Balancing act

In preparation for the season, Bascue has been training two-to-three days a week in Lake Placid.

“He continues to progress,” said CraigBascue. “Last year, he crashed several times on the long track. So far this year, there have been no crashes, and one coach even told him that he had the best line through turn 10 he has seen all year.”

As he practices, Bascue has learned how to balance his training with school work and with his other sport, playing as the starting quarterback for the Whitehall varsity football team.

“I make sure that I get back for a couple of practices each week, because it wouldn’t be fair to jump into the games without any practice at all,” said Bascue. “The team and the coaches have been very supportive. I also have a lot of school work to do when I am away from school, and the main thing has been learning how to set a routine and a schedule for yourself to do homework and manage all of the other training activities.”

Bascue will take to the field for the Railroaders this Saturday as the team plays in the Section II/Class D semifinals, which will be followed by a quick shower before jumping into a truck with his father, bobsled in tow, and making the 34-hour trip from the Schuylerville parking lot to Park City.

Community support

For this season, several things have changed for Bascue. In a little more than a year, he has gone from being coached by his grandfather into the United States system, where he has been coached by former Olympians Todd Hayes and Brian Shimer, the current head coach of Team USA.

Bascue also has a new brakeman in Dan Southan from Dayton, Ohio, and a new sled that will make him more competitive with international-level competition.

To help pay for the expenses of a sled and travel, the family set up the CodieBascue Bobsledding Boosters, which has seen a generous response from the local community.

“The donations and the support from the community have been great,” said Craig Bascue.

“We keep getting donations and we have been doing several fundraisers,” said CodieBascue. “We have some sponsors for our sled, and the community support has just been great and I am very thankful for it.”

“It has all been happening very fast,” said his father. “We are just taking it one step at a time and we’ll see where this takes him.”

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