Superpipe kick-off

Chevrolet Freestyle Junior Olympics begin with high-flying tricks

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— For some skiers, the Chevrolet Freestyle Junior Olympics are about making that next big step or proving they are the best among their peers.

But all Chapman Geer, a 15-year-old Steamboat Springs High School student, really wanted to do Wednesday was have some fun in Mavericks Superpipe.

In the process, he spun his way into eighth place. It was Geer's first top-10 finish in a Junior Olympics event.

"I was really happy with it," Geer said. "All I really wanted was to ski well."

The Steamboat skier netted 34.3 points on his second run to secure the eighth-place spot in the first event of the 2007 Junior Olympic Championships at the Steamboat Ski Area. The championships continue through Sunday.

Ross Falcone of Sun Valley, Idaho, won the event by netting 45 points on his run and edging out Taylor Seaton of Copper Mountain, who finished second with 44.3 points. Aspen's Jack Sullan was third with 42.1 points. Geer was the top Steamboat finisher in the event. Steamboat's Michael Ricker finished 24th, and Conor Garrecht-Connelly was 38th.

Sophia Schwartz of Waterville Valley, N.H., won the women's event with 32.9 points. Kim Sharp of Park City, Utah, was second with 30.5 points, and teammate Siena Palmacci was third with 30 points.

The superpipe event featured the top 58, younger-than-18 male skiers from around the country. The women's field was slightly smaller, but still drew 37 top athletes.

Today, the skiers will return to Bashor Bowl for the slopestyle event. Steamboat coach Tony Lodico said he was thrilled with the way Steamboat Springs skiers performed on the opening day of the Junior Olympics.

He expects the team to be even stronger today, adding he foresees strong showings from Geer and Tony Gallina.

The slopestyle event begins at 10 a.m. in Bashor Bowl at the ski area.

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