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Farragut 9-year-old national champ says ‘push me’

How about a 9-year-old asking her father to push her to make her a better athlete?

For young Brie Carter of Farragut, all the pushing has paid off in a slalom skiing national championship.

“We knew she had a lot of talent and she had a chance to do well, [so] she told me, I guess it was a little over a year ago ... ‘Daddy, will you push me?’” Chris Carter said about his then eight-year-old daughter, one of four skiers in the family, after winning the 9-and-under U.S. National Water Ski Championships Aug. 2-6 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Brie said she welcomed being pushed, “to win and just praise God, and to just make sure, like, other people are O-K with it ... .”

Her father talked about an assignment in her third-grade Concord Christian School class in February, “Having to do with verb recognition. She drew a picture of skiing and wrote, ‘I will compete in the nationals, I will do my best, I will trust in God, I will be in first place.’ And the teacher wrote a little, ‘very nice,’ on the piece of paper, and it came true.

“We have that laminated now on our refrigerator.”

Seeded No. 2 based on her Excellent Performance ratings going into the national tournament, Brie was among 26 of the best young skiers in the United States.

When Brie and the No. 3 seed from Virginia tied after their round, “they had to have a run-off,” Chris Carter said. “The first girl goes out and only made it only half-way around the course, and Brie knew she could run it. I said, ‘Baby, how many times have you run it?’ And she goes, “I’ve run it a bunch, Daddy. .. Yeah, I know I can run it.’ And she got out there and did it.”

The 9-year-old earned her national trip after a weeklong southern regional tournament against the best young skiers in the southeast, held in Paducah, Ky., in July.

“It’s the toughest region along with the western region out in California,” Chris Carter said.

In addition to Brie, Chris Carter himself joined Brie’s oldest sister, Caylee, 11, and youngest sister, Chanah, 7, at regionals, making them “the biggest [competing] family in the regionals,” Chris Carter said. Although no other family member won, “they all did well ... Caylee won her division [ages 10-14] in state, and Chanah [9-and-under] placed fifth.”

Chris Carter added that Caylee also qualified to compete in the national tourney.

“She wasn’t anywhere near the top, but she was proud to get there,” Chris Carter said. “We think next year is probably Caylee’s year, or the year after.”

Brie won all six state, local, regional and national slalom tournaments she entered during the just completed season, Chris Carter said, starting with “local” victories, two in Georgia against “a dozen to two dozen” competitors, and one in Cleveland.

“One fortunate thing is that water skiing is seasonal, it’s probably a six-month sport,” Chris Carter said. “So they have balance throughout the year to do other things. Although to compete at that level, you do have to focus. There’s no question she does.

“Most of the time she’s ready to be out there, but occasionally we go out to practice early in the morning and I’d say, ‘Let’s go,’ and she’s say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to go right now,’ and I’d say, ‘O-K, you want me to push you or not?’ And she’d say, ‘Yeah, let’s go.’”

Moving up to the 10-14 age group, or girls two level, next year, “the top speed for Brie in girls one [has been] thirty miles an hour, in girls two it goes to thirty-two miles an hour,” Chris Carter said, adding that at the girls two speed, “In practice she’s skiing well enough to be in the top ten in the country.

“She will not win next year, by any stretch, but she’ll place pretty well.”

Brie said about her move up, “I look forward to it because it’s going to be more challenging and I’ll meet new competitors and see some old ones.”

Adding critical support is Jan Carter, the girls’ mother. “She’s the support and puts things together ... the girls train off of her taking pictures and movies,” Chris Carter said.

Jan said all three kids are taught “a proverb from King Solomon ... plans of the diligent lead certainly to success,” adding that she told Brie, “‘you’ve been diligent in all your hard work.’”


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