SMS senior Claire qualifies for Games

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STRATTON — Stratton Mountain School senior Caroline Claire will have a memorable birthday month this year.

Claire, who turns 18 a week before the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics begin in South Korea on Feb. 8, will compete for the U.S. Olympic Freeski Team in the slopestyle.

Claire, who resides in Manchester, has two bronze medals in the FIS Junior World Championships in the slopestyle event, from 2017 and 2015. She qualified for the team through a series of events beginning in February and concluding this past weekend in Mammoth, Calif., where she finished third overall.

Claire is one of four women selected to represent the United States in the Women's Slopestyle. She joins a list of more than 40 Stratton Mountain School alumni who have competed in the Olympics since 1976.

"We are so proud of Caroline for having been named to the Olympic Freeski Team. Her skiing has progressed tremendously during her time at Stratton Mountain School, and she has worked hard to get where she is today," said SMS Freeskiing program director Jesse Mallis in a release. "To have the honor of representing her country on the world's largest stage is well-deserved."

Claire will be the first freeskier from the school to compete at the Olympic level and the first Stratton Mountain School student to represent the United States at the Olympics while enrolled in the school.

"We are pleased to have Caroline representing the United States and Stratton Mountain School at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang," said SMS headmaster Chris Kaltsas. "The entire SMS community is excited for Caroline, as she has earned the opportunity to compete at the highest level of her sport."

A handful of other local athletes or those with ties to the area have also qualified for the Games.

In Nordic skiing, Sophie Caldwell (Peru and SMS), Jessie Diggins (SMS T2 Elite), Andy Newell (Shaftsbury) and Simi Hamilton (SMS T2 Elite/Middlebury College) will aim for gold in South Korea.

In snowboarding, Kelly Clark (Mount Snow/West Dover) will compete in her fifth Olympics and aim for her fourth medal after a gold and two bronzes previously.

Devin Logan (Mount Snow/West Dover) will set a mark after qualifying in both halfpipe and slopestyle. The 2014 slopestyle silver medalist will compete in the halfpipe after a bronze at the world championships this past season.

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