Freestyle skiers get shot at nationals this week

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— After a solid showing at the Divisional Championships in Winter Park earlier this month, Lauren Crawford and several other top Steamboat freestyle skiers have shifted their attention to capturing a national title.

The mogul skiers will compete in the National Freestyle Championships Friday in Missoula, Mont. Top regional finishers like Crawford will be looking to earn more titles.

Other local skiers like Carly Gmeiner, who finished third in the NorAm Grand Prix this season, Chris Pusey, and Jordan Chiavorelli will be hoping for a solid showing in the last major freestyle event of the season. Unfortunately, Eliza Outtrim, who finished second in the NorAm Grand Prix, is not expected to compete after injuring her knee last week.

National freestyle titles were handed out during the Junior Olympics two weeks ago in both the big air and halfpipe events. The final titles of the season will be handed out to the mogul skiers in both singles and duals.

Crawford is coming off a great finish at the Rocky Mountain Divisional Championships, which were held in Winter Park the first week in March. The championship was a five-day, six-event marathon. Steamboat women won four of the six events and the men were on the podium twice.

Skiers competed for titles in aerial, big air and slope style. There were also championship (open), junior (18-and-under) and dual mogul events. By week's end, 12 Steamboat skiers had stepped onto the podium and three of them brought home four titles.

Crawford led the pack by winning both the championship and dual mogul events for women. Young Caterina Mader topped the women's aerials and Gina Gmeiner lead a podium sweep in the women's halfpipe event.

In fact, Steamboat showed well in all the events.

John Spriggs of Vail won the men's halfpipe event, but Steamboat's Chris Ward tied for fourth, Bart Robinson was ninth and Charlie MacArthur was 11th.

The women's halfpipe was dominated by Steamboat with Gina Gmeiner in first, Carly Gmeiner in second and Erica Damon in third.

Ryan Gillespie of Team Summit won the men's aerial event with an off axis 360 and iron cross.

MacArthur was fifth, Jake Cohn was ninth, Robinson was 11th and Nic DeVos was 13th.

On the women's side, Steamboat's Jenny Lee was ninth and Patty Hanley was 10th.

The big air event was won by Chad Zanca. Steamboat's Cohn was third, MacArthur was fifth and Robinson was eighth.

Chris Pusey just missed the podium in the men's championship moguls. He placed fourth in the event that was won by Winter Park's Brady Johnson.

Kyle Ewing was 12th and Logan Belz was 13th.

In duals, Andy Musser of Team Summit slipped past Steamboat's Eddie Keiser in the finals. Scott Vos was third, Pusey was sixth and Ewing and Daniel MacArthur both tied for ninth.

Crawford dominated both the women's mogul events, but that didn't stop her teammates from shining as well.

On the championship day, Carly Gmeiner placed third, Eliza Outtrim was fourth, Damon was eighth and Mader came in 10th.

In duals, Carly Gmeiner was second, Outtrim was fourth and Damon and Maryann Skraba both finished in ninth.

Steamboat also had several skiers finish well in the junior mogul event. Jonathan Discoe of Telluride won the men's event and Alison Levy of Vail won the women's.

Top local finishers included Jarrett Arguelles in sixth, Ewing in 12th and Bo Randolph in 20th for the men. For the women, Mader was fifth, Skraba was sixth, Justine Chellel was seventh and Jenny Lee was 10th.

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