Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club freestyle skier Lars Johnson, 16, throws a back X on Wednesday in the second single moguls event at the 2007 U.S. Freestyle Selections, in which he finished 50th.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Steamboat Springs For Steamboat Springs' budding freestyle ski talents, the golden opportunity at the 2007 U.S. Freestyle Selections, Monday through Thursday at Winter Park, was right there - ski well enough at a pair of single moguls events and earn a spot on the U.S. Ski Team.
But even with participating members of the U.S. C-team posting less than stellar performances, which opened the door a little further, a couple of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's top hopes for a big finish were cut short by injury.
Steamboat's Bo Randolph put down a quality run in Monday's opening single moguls event to put him in eighth place, but he got a little too much speed on his second run.
"He got going way too fast, blew up and twisted his ankle in his boot," Winter Sports Club freestyle program director Erik Skinner said, awaiting word on the severity of Randolph's injury. "If he could've stood up that run, he would've been in a good place to be on the U.S. Team."
Winter Sports Club skier Robert Burden posted back-to-back top 10 finishes, 10th on Monday and ninth in Wednesday's second single moguls event.
Burden's fast runs took their toll. But despite debilitating back pain for the final dual moguls event on Thursday, Burden finished the course to secure a top-30 score, and with it, a starting spot at the first NorAm Cup competition, Jan. 4 to 6 in Calgary, Alberta.
One of the most impressive performances came from Kara Johnson, who twice made it to the finals, or top 16. Johnson finished ninth and 15th in the two single events and then advanced through the dual moguls bracket to earn seventh, the 22-year-old's top finish in a FIS race.
"She gave it her all and stood up some good runs - very consistent and an absolutely awesome job," Skinner said.
For Johnson, the runs were the payoff for a summer spent conditioning and recovering from past injuries.
"I was really psyched with my skiing," said Johnson, who is now looking ahead to NorAm Cup events later in the season. "My jumping's come a long way after a series of injuries, and I felt like it was the highest I've gotten off the jumps."
Skinner also noted positive strides made by Michael Degrandis, 14, who earned 25th place in both the Monday single and Thursday dual moguls events, among much older competition. Skinner also praised Lars Johnson, who, on only his fourth day on skis this winter, earned a couple of respectable finishes.
Steamboat resident and U.S. C-team member Michael Morse tied for a second-place finish overall, losing the tiebreaker - and with it, a World Cup start - to Patrick Deneen. Former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and fellow C-team member Emiko Torito finished with a pair of podium finishes in the women's single moguls events.
Morse and Torito are among the 54 athletes named earlier this week to the 2008 U.S. Freestyle Ski Team, along with a handful of other skiers with Steamboat training roots, including aerials skiers Jana Lindsey and Ryan St. Onge and moguls skiers Eliza Outtrim and Caterina Mader.