Freestylers ready for nationals

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Jenny Lee is new to the halfpipe, but that didn't stop her from finishing fifth in the country.

Lee scored 53.6 points Thursday at the national event for the country's best halfpipe and big-air freestyle skiers. Lee was the top finisher from the Rocky Mountain Division.

The nationals were held in conjunction with the 2005 Chevrolet Junior Olympics. Lee qualified for every Junior Olympic event staged in Park City, Utah, but did not compete in all events.

Lee and teammates Caterina Mader, Kylie Douglas, Abe Maynard, Bo Randolph and Sam Tarrant are still in Park City readying for the 2005 U.S. Freestyle Championships, which begin Thursday with the men's and women's moguls.

The U.S. nationals wrap up Saturday with the dual moguls competition. Titles also will be on the line in aerials.

Mader proved to be too tough for the Junior Olympic field in the dual moguls Sunday. The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athlete threw a spread eagle and a twister spread to win.

"It was almost like a blizzard on Sunday," said Winter Sports Club freestyle coach Nate Bird. "She backed off on her airs to concentrate more on her overall race."

Teammate Kylie Douglas finished seventh, as five RMD skiers placed in the top seven in the national field.

Douglas placed fifth, and Mader was third in the singles moguls event held Saturday. Summit County's Jordan Poyfair won the event, giving the RMD a sweep of moguls events on the girls' side.

"Cat and Jordan have grown up competing against each other," Bird said. "They cheer each other on. All the kids from the Rocky Mountain Division become teammates at nationals."

Randolph was the only Winter Sports Club male skier to advance to the finals in the singles moguls event Saturday. He was 10th after the first run but dropped to 19th after his second run. Jay Bowman-Kirigin of the Intermountain Division won the race. Telluride's Joe and Jimmy Discoe were third and fourth, respectively, for the RMD.

The Junior Olympics field was made up of freestyle skiers younger than 18 from throughout the country, but race organizers did hand out awards based on age. Steamboat's Luke Kamieniecki was the second best male skier at his J-3 level. There were just a few skiers younger than Kamieniecki in the Junior Olympics field.

Lee also received an overall place finish, taking seventh overall for her showings in the halfpipe and moguls events. She did not compete in aerials.

Lee and teammate Jake Cohn competed in the big-air competition, which was set up like a terrain park, allowing skiers to do whatever tricks they wanted off the kickers. Lee finished 23rd, and Cohn was 18th. Like the halfpipe, the big-air event was a national competition. The Intermountain Division's Rachael Pack, the younger sister of U.S. Ski Team aerialist Joe Pack, won both the big air and aerials events in Park City. David Wise won the boys' title in the big-air competition.

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