World Cup Supply, Inc. (WCS) is pleased to announce the first recipient of a Berlack/Astle Award for 2021 is Gray Flanagan of West Burke, Vt. Flanagan is currently a PG student at GMVS and graduated from BMA in 2020. Flanagan joins the previous award winners who all possess the skiing talent and positive personal attributes that both Ronnie Berlack and Bryce Astle embodied.
Prior to this year, the Berlack-Astle Award was given to one male and one female U16 athlete based on completed applications and recommendations. For 2021, the structure of the award and the selection process has been changed in a way we that believe will have a more significant impact for the recipients both now and in the future.
WCS will set aside $5,000 annually for the Berlack/Astle Award Fund. The fund awards grants as needed and available to athletes from either the Eastern or Western/Inter-Mountain regions who are recommended to us by U.S. Ski & Snowboard staff from those two regions. The athletes recommended for the grants will have been invited to a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Ski team camp or NDG project and need financial assistance to attend the camp or project.
“We are confident this approach will have the direct impact we are looking for by helping talented athletes participate in growth opportunities they otherwise would not be able to attend,” WCS said in a statement.
Flanagan was recommended to WCS by Eastern Region staff as a promising alpine athlete who had an opportunity to travel to Europe this spring for a U.S. Ski & Snowboard NDG Competition Project lasting several weeks. The $2,000 award will allow Flanagan to attend the project by directly funding expenses related to the trip. During the project, Flanagan will be racing against European talent in four different countries with a small group of U.S. Ski Team athletes and three coaches.
Among the group of coaches is Rich Smith, Eastern Region Coach who commented, “It’s always exciting to watch Flanagan race. He is a fearless competitor in search of speed and charges the fall line. Hard work, grit, and integrity are just a few of the many positive traits Gray possess. He will be an outstanding role model for future recipients of this prestigious award.”
WCS reached out to Flanagan to inform him of the news just a few days prior to leaving for the Project.
“I am honored to be receiving the Ronnie Berlack-Bryce Astle Award for 2021 and look forward to representing them in my upcoming races,” he said.
Brad Williams of WCS added, “We are thrilled to be able to help talented athletes like Gray who are deep into the U.S. Ski Team program, to have access to the types of travel, training and racing they need as they work so hard to get to the next level. Like all of our previous award recipients, we’ll be watching Gray closely and wishing nothing but the best for him both on and off the hill.”
Release courtesy of World Cup Supply, Inc.