Ontario Talent Squad and Ski Team for Dummies

That’s right, the second edition of “OST for Dummies” is here.

Last year I wrote a post on what YOU had to do to qualify for the Ontario Development Team and/or the Ontario Ski Team. Since then, Cross Country Ontario has gone through and revamped the criteria and format for our provincial team. Not to worry though, because behind all the new fancy team titles and scary point calculations it’s pretty much the same thing. Save for one thing: the Development Team no longer exists (le gasp). Instead, this year the provincial program will be divided into two parts: the Ontario Talent Squad for Juveniles, and the Ontario Ski Team for Juniors.

Here’s what is going to be covered:

  • eligibility requirements
  • Ontario Talent Squad
    • what is it?
    • how do I qualify?
    • what’s in it for me?
  • Ontario Ski Team
    • what is it?
    • how do I qualify?
    • what’s in it for me?
  • Expectations of athletes and coaches on Ontario Talent Squad/Ski Team

Okay here we go…

Eligibility

To be eligible to qualify for the Ontario Talent Squad or the Ontario Ski Team you must:

  1. Have a CCC racing license
    – you should have signed up for one of these before the race season started
    – you can double check HERE by going to your club and making sure you’re listed
    – NOTE: a day license is not the same as a racing license
  2. Be registered with an Ontario club
  3. Be a citizen of Canada (or a permanent resident)

Excellent. So if you’ve signed up for a license, are part of an Ontario club, and are Canadian, you can qualify for team Ontario.

Ontario Talent Squad

“What is the Ontario Talent Squad?”

The OTS will be composed of the top Juvenile boys and girls from the 2013-2014 ski season. There will be a total of 16 Juvenile athletes selected, with the possibility for top Midgets to also be invited to camps. The Talent Squad is designed to give younger athletes the opportunity to go to training camps, get to know their competitors as teammates, and to act as a motivator to continue to pursue cross country skiing competitively. There is a team fee, which will depend on estimated trip costs. Team trips are subsidized which your parents will thank you for.

“How do I make the Ontario Talent Squad?”

Below is the table on how the OTS is selected (straight from the selection document). Basically, the team is selected based on who the top performers are by year of birth. For each race, athletes in the same category score points against each other (so ’98 juvenile girls score points with ’99 juvenile girls, but are then ranked separately). The points are calculated based on the percentage of time behind the winner. The same is done at Nationals for all the individual races. For sprints, points are determined based on the sprint qualifier (which I’ve always been a fan of).

Finally, we take all these numbers (specifically your best 5 OCup races, and best 2 individual races from Nationals), add them up, and figure out who the top ranked athletes are. For the OCup races, your five best must include at least 2 classic and 2 skate, the 5th race can be either of the two. An important note: if you don’t qualify based on your best 5 + 2, you can still qualify by racing super fast at Nationals. There is an aggregate system (more points and numbers) that ranks everyone at Nationals based on their races, and if you are in the top five for your YOB then you will also qualify for the OTS. Cool, huh?

For top midgets, coaches can submit appeals to have their athletes considered for Talent Squad. See item 4 here.

talent squad
Gents – I would like to point out that there will be 10 girls on the Talent Squad, and only 6 boys.
Ladies – If you stick with the sport and make your way to the NDC, the ratio is like, 7 guys to 3 girls.

“What do I get for being on this team?”

  • Summer dryland camp with Provincial Coach
    The current provincial coach is Pavlina Sudrich (if you haven’t heard of her you will be sure to hear her cheering loudly for all Ontario athletes out on course), and she will likely run this camp. I say likely because she is currently working on her air of mystique over in Europe and no one is completely sure when/if she will return
  • On snow camp at Foret Montmorency, Quebec
    This would take place in late November/early December and is an awesome opportunity to get in some early skiing to get you ready for the race season!
  • Team Clothing!
    Getting team gear makes you feel legit. You’re going to want to wear your new OTS clothing everywhere. But before you do – just remember that wearing spandex in public is sometimes frowned upon and is generally awkward.


IN SUMMARY

Talent Squad is for Juveniles (and maybe midgets).
Selection is based on top 5 OCup races (at least 2 classic and 2 skate) + top 2 Nationals races (any technique, herringbone if you like), OR a top 5 YOB aggregate at Nationals.
Team benefits are subsidized training camps, team gear, and some coaching.

Ontario Ski Team

“What is the Ontario Ski Team?”

Well, let me tell you: it’s awesome. The Ontario Ski Team is designed to provide the top Junior Boys, Girls, Men, and Women with high performance training and racing opportunities within Canada and abroad, and to help develop athletes for National Development Centres and National Ski Teams. The OST is composed of the top three Junior B/G for each YOB and up to two first year Junior men and junior women. Similar to the OTS, the OST offers subsidization for elite training and racing opportunities, clothing, as well as coaching, and eligibility for Ontario Carding.

“How do I make the Ontario Ski Team?”

Again, below is the table from the selection document (excuse multiple images, I’m just taking screen shots because of reasons)

Like the Talent Squad, the OST is selected based on your best five races (including 2 classic, and 2 skate) on the OCup circuit, plus your best two races at Nationals, OR a top 5 aggregate at Nationals. The top 3 athletes for each YOB and gender will be named to the OST. Remember, points are calculated for each category but that you will be later ranked within your YOB for selection purposed.

For Junior Men and Women, things are a little different instead of OCup and Nationals criteria, selections are made based on proximity to the International Performance Benchmarks (IPB). This is done using period 5 of the Canadian Points List (CPL) which can be viewed here on CCC.

OST jr boys OST jr girls jr m/w
le voila.

Note that the gender ratio here is equal (aka the tipping point).

“What do I get for being on the Ontario Ski Team?”

  • Training Camps
    This generally includes a spring testing camp, a summer on snow camp, and an early on snow camp in December. The list of all the camps will be made available to athletes who are nominated to the team. These trips are all well subsidized and athletes who commit to the OST are expected to attend at a minimum number of camps.
  • Coaching
    Athletes who qualify for the OST are Ontario’s elite; and sometimes need more support than their club can offer. Athletes that come from smaller, or newer clubs who require more coaching will have the opportunity to work with the provincial coach on a more regular basis. That said, all Ontario Team athletes will work with provincial coach during camps, and are encouraged to communicate with Pav via training logs/email/phone to make sure things are going well (if she doesn’t respond you just need to be more persistent and creative with how you get in contact).
  • Team Clothing!
    To keep you looking fresh on race site, and anywhere else you choose to wear it. In the past, OST’ers have received a jacket and race suit. Depending on the provincial budget and sponsorships, sometimes there’s extra stuff like headbands, buffs, and backpacks.

IN SUMMARY:

Talent Squad is for Juniors.
Selection is based on top 5 OCup races (at least 2 classic and 2 skate) + top 2 Nationals races, OR a top 5 YOB aggregate at Nationals for Junior boys and girls. For Junior men and women, athletes will be ranked and selected based on CPL.
Team benefits are subsidized training and testing camps, coaching, team clothing, and Ontario Carding eligibility.

Expectations of Athletes and Coaches

As with most awesome things, there’s a catch (no worries, it’s not that bad). Athletes on both the Talent Squad, and the Ski Team will be required to sign an Athlete Contract and to pay a team fee (OTS: tba, OST: 365$). The contract basically says that you will be a good person, won’t do drugs, will participate in team camps, and will race this coming season. It’s important that Ontario Team athletes understand that they are ambassadors for our province and role models for the next generation of racers; that your actions and image are not only a reflection of yourself, but your club, your team, and our province. So be a good person and it’ll all be good.

New this year is that club coaches of OST athletes will be required to sign a letter indicating that they are willing to participate, and have their athlete be part of the Ontario Ski Team. The intention of this is to get club coaches more involved with the OST program and to help the provincial coach address the specific needs of each athlete. So coaches, it’s on you (no pressure).

————

aaaand I think that’s it…

phew!

Well, hopefully that clears up any questions you may have about this years Ontario Selection Criteria. If there’s still questions lingering in your mind feel free to send me a message, email, or comment here. Chances are I missed something and would like to fill in the gaps where I can!

oh, yep. I did forget something – U23 athletes!
U23 athletes are not eligible for the Ontario Ski Team unless they are a member of a NDC or the NST (which automatically qualifies you anyways…), but you are eligible for University/College support. If you are currently a post-secondary student you can read about how to get this support in Section 5 of the selection criteria document because you are educated and good at reading.

Okay, well good luck with the rest of the race season!

Ski Fast!
JennOUT

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