Cashmere has at least two great reasons to be bursting at the seams with pride these days. Last week, native son Stephen Ettinger became the top professional cross-country mountain bike rider in the country. At the tender age of 24, he may well be the youngest person ever to hold the title, according to his coach, Jason Jablonski.
Another Jablonski protege, Cole Paton, spent three weeks in Europe racing mountain bikes and placed 16th in one race and second in another, making him one of the top American cyclists in the 15-16 age group.
Ettinger has had extraordinary success at every level of racing, including winning the under-23 championship a few years ago. Jablonski, who also raced professionally, said one of the most important assets that both Ettinger and Paton have is a mindset of wanting to get better and looking at adversity or failure as an opportunity to learn. Many athletes don’t have that same approach and get frustrated when the competition stiffens.
Jablonski says Paton is unflappable. When a mistake was made in his first race in the Netherlands and Paton had to compete against older athletes, he didn’t flinch.
Our valley has grown some extraordinary athletes, such as professional cyclist Tyler Farrar and Olympic cross-country skier Torin Koos. Great athletes move to places like Bend, Ore., and Colorado. “Here they’re pretty much created,” said Jablonski.
This is the opinion of The Wenatchee World and its Editorial Board: Publisher Rufus Woods, Editor Cal FitzSimmons and Editorial Page Editor Tracy Warner.