Kat Paul’s season so far can be split into three parts. The first was in late November and early December in which she raced very successfully on the USA Super Tour qualifying for senior finals in all of the sprint races she started. Her second phases involved US Championships and U23 World Championships both in Utah, USA. Her third phase is just beginning in Europe with World Championships in Lahti just around the corner.
This is Kat’s first international season as a senior athlete as oppose to a junior athlete. For skiers, as with many sports, the first year as a senior is one of the hardest mentally. You have just gone from being at the top of the age group to the bottom. Instead of racing against the best juniors you are racing against the best full stop.
It is for this reason that the U23 Championships were bought in but even at this event there is a fairly significant gap in development from the oldest to the youngest. Despite this Kat has raced really well this year bringing a higher level of consistency to her results across what is a long season. An example of this is that in terms of FIS points her worst sprint result this year is better than her best sprint result last year.
The highest profile race Kat has competed in so far were the World U23 Championships in Utah, USA:
“The World Junior/U23 Championships continue to be some of the best weeks of my life regardless of result.” Kat commented soon after the championships this year. “The biggest thing I was told about coming into U23’s is that how hard it was going to be… and no one was wrong! The level of competition is so hard. Really puts you in your place.”
Kat can be really happy with her results finishing 35th in the sprint just over 10% behind skiers who had recently been in the top 10 on World Cup. She finished 42nd in the 10km skate.
The highlight of her season so far were the early Super Tour races (the Super Tour is the FIS North American Continental Cup).
“I was very happy with my US super tour sprint races, it was great to make the top 30 and race in the heats, something I did not think I would be able to do.”
Kat finished 19th in the skate sprint at the West Yellowstone Super Tour and 28th in the classic sprint at the Sovereign Lakes Super Tour.
Kat is now in Finland preparing for the World Championships which begin next week. This is Kat’s first World Championships and she is the youngest member of the team.
“Lahti will be another experience that I’m looking forward to! I’m excited for the vibes, crowds and overall experience that’s for sure! Racing wise I am looking forward to the opening 5km Classic and the Skate sprint.”