Doughertys off to World Juniors (Skiing)

January 18, 2011
Andrew Dougherty

Most kids in this country fantasize about scoring touchdowns, smashing home runs and posterizing slam dunks.

But in Alaska they dream of gold medals.

Just ask 19-year-old Andrew Dougherty of Anchorage.

For years the standout cross-country skier and his buddies have spiced up training days with Olympic races, much like basketball players battling for the NCAA title in the driveway or hockey players gunning for the Stanley Cup at a local rink.

“It was a huge motivator to train harder,” Dougherty told me. “We’d be like, ‘This one’s for the gold medal.’ ”

Dougherty and best pals Scott Patterson and Tyler Kornfield won’t have to play like they are going for the gold because all three Alaska skiers will go from the real thing at the World Junior Championships. They were selected to the six-man representing the top American skiers under the age of 20 later this week in Estonia.

Patterson and Kornfield went to World Juniors last year. This is Dougherty’s first trip.

“I was pretty excited,” said Doughterty, of Alaska Winter Stars fame. “I worked really hard and I was glad to see my hard work paid off.”

Doughtery, a college sophomore, is no stranger to the big stage. He helped the University of Denver win the NCAA title last year, registering top-20 showings in both techniques.

Still, skiing for your school isn’t quite the same thing as skiing for your country. At least that’s what Dougherty hears from Patterson and Kornfield.

“We were all thinking of (World Juniors) every time we got out and trained during the summer time,” Dougherty said. “This was the main goal.”

Turns out he isn’t the only skier in his family who needs to update his passport.

Sam Dougherty

Younger brother Sam Dougherty, 17, is one of the top biathletes in the nation and will represent the U.S. at the World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic also next week.

“I’m pretty proud of him,” Andrew said. “He hasn’t quiet had the cross country results he’s wanted lately, so this is really cool for him.”