Final Olympic spots on the line today in Lake Placid | SteamboatToday.com

Final Olympic spots on the line today in Lake Placid

World Cup event to determine US freestyle moguls squad makeup

Luke Graham

— The results of today's final World Cup event in Lake Placid, N.Y., will determine the makeup of the U.S. freestyle moguls ski team's 2010 Olympics squad.

It's expected that four women and four men will be named to the team. The Olympic team officially will be announced Tuesday.

On the women's side, Hannah Kearney has locked up a spot with her win at the 2010 U.S. Winter Olympic Team Trials in Steamboat Springs. Heather McPhie essentially locked hers up with a second- and first-place finish at World Cup events in Park City, Utah.

Michelle Roark and Shannon Bahrke have third-place finishes in World Cups and look like front-runners for the last spots.

Steamboat's Eliza Outtrim and The Lowell Whiteman School grad Emiko Torito need big showings today in Lake Placid to earn berths.

The men's side is murkier.

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Pat Deneen is in via his win at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Bryon Wilson also is in, thanks to two World Cup podiums earlier in the season.

"I'm psyched to go to the Olympics. It's been a dream for so long. I wish I could've skied better, but I'm going to the Olympics, so I'm happy," Wilson said in a U.S. Ski Team news release Jan. 16 after the World Cup events in Park City. "I want to ski my best, and I want them to ski their best. Whatever happens, happens. I skied well earlier this year, and hopefully I can do well in Vancouver."

That leaves two spots, with three likely skiers battling for them. Nate Roberts — who owns a World Cup podium earlier this season — will try to hold off veteran Mike Morse and rookie Jeremy Cota.

Morse has several top-10 finishes in World Cups this season, and Cota finished sixth and seventh in the first two World Cups of his career.

"It's great," Cota said between training sessions Wednesday. "Luckily, I know where I'm at, position-wise. I don't feel any pressure. I didn't set a goal at the beginning of the season to make the Olympics. I set the goal to ski well. Make it or not, it's a great success. We'll see where the cards fall" today.

Schaffrick still in running for Winter Olympic spot

With two U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix events left, Steam­boat's Maddy Schaffrick still has a chance to make the Olympic team.

With Grand Prix events scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Park City, Schaffrick — who is sixth in the standings — could earn a berth with a top finish at either one.

The Grand Prix has five scheduled events, and riders' best two finishes determine the Olympic team.

Like freestyle, it's expected because of depth that there will be four men and four women on each team.

So far, Kelly Clark and Shaun White have locked up spots. On the women's side, Gretchen Bleiler and Hannah Teter are in line to make it, with Louie Vito, Zack Black, Scotty Lago and JJ Thomas battling it out on the men's side.

Three men's and women's spots will be announced at the conclusion of Saturday's event with full U.S. Snowboarding teams to be announced Monday.

Mick Dierdorff makes boardercross finals

Steamboat's Mick Dierdorff made the boardercross finals in a World Cup event Wednesday in Stoneham, Quebec.

Dierdorff, a 2009 Steamboat Springs High School graduate, qualified 29th out of 32 racers for today's finals.

Although Dierdorff is a long shot to make the Olympic team, Wednesday's finish gives him a chance. There are expected to be four men named to the team, and already five men have World Cup podiums.

"To guarantee a spot, Mick would have to win this," said Jon Casson, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboarding director. "But boardercross is one of those things that anything can happen on any day. Crazier things do happen."