Vaughan comes up big at Junior Nationals

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— A month’s worth of “almost” paid off Wednesday for Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club freestyle skier Lennon Vaughan. He capped a big season by winning his age division in freeskiing half-pipe at the Junior National Championships in Park City, Utah.

Vaughan was tops among the J1 field and fifth overall in the half-pipe competition, finishing with a score of 73.0.

“He’s been close. He was close in Mammoth, (Calif.), close in Sun Valley, (Idaho), and finally, he took it all the way through and finished it in the finals at Junior Nationals,” coach Tony Lodico said. “He’s been working hard over the last month, and we’ve been on the road. For him to finally put down that run was wonderful to see.”

Winter Park skier Birk Irving was the overall winner with a score of 88.3.

Steamboat skier Robby Brown also competed at the event in slope-style, though he wasn’t able to build on a good season as he slipped in the semifinals and failed to qualify for finals.

“He’s been skiing really, really well, but his feet slipped out from underneath him, and he didn’t make it in,” Lodico said.

Elsewhere, former Winter Sports Club skier Avital Shimko placed seventh in the women’s moguls event. Club skier Jaelin Kauf was ninth.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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