SQUAW VALLEY USA – Olympians Emily Cook and Matt DePeters soared to national aerials titles at the Sprint U.S. Freestyle National Championships at Squaw Valley on Saturday.“It’s awesome,” Cook said of winning her fourth U.S. title in aerials, which she earned by stomping a full double full – two flips with three twists – on her second jump. “Nationals is always so much fun. It’s great to be here. I’ve had a great time skiing since I got here. And I’m excited to come out of here with a Nationals win.”Ashley Caldwell finished runner-up in the women’s final, while Jana Lindsey rounded out the podium in third. The athletes, a number of them competing for the first time since the Vancouver Olympic Games last month, marveled at the sunny conditions and friendly atmosphere at the season-ending competition. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful day,” said Caldwell, who was the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic Team, at age 16. “Everybody is jumping really well, and some people are just hucking. It’s how Nationals should be. Warm, sunny, everyone’s having fun – like a party.”Cook said in addition to the pleasant weather and vibes, she enjoyed seeing the up-and-coming aerialists compete alongside the established members of the U.S. Ski Team.“The thing about Nationals is it’s so fun to come out with some of the younger athletes and kind of see the next generation. So it was a fun day, definitely.”In the men’s final, Dylan Ferguson took second and Nevin Brown third, while 2010 Olympian Scotty Bahrke from Tahoe City impressed his hometown fans with a high-flying display off the largest jump in both his final rounds.“It was a bit of a rough day, but at least I landed my second jump,” said Bahrke, a 2003 grad of North Tahoe High School. “It’s always a bummer to come out and fall on your first and then fall on your second. But it was good to lay down my second jump and boost my confidence a little bit.”While not completely satisfied with his jumps, Bahrke said he was glad to end his season competing in front of his closest supporters from home.“It’s a blast. It’s so much fun,” he said. “I’ve got a bunch of family out here and a bunch of friends, people who have never seen me jump. It’s just awesome.”DePeters was rewarded the national title for landing a lay full full – a double twist in a triple flip – on his first jump and a full full full, which consists of three flips and three twists, on his second.“I’m pretty happy,” DePeters said. “Coming from the Olympics, and jumping pretty well there, and then to come here and win my first national title, I’m pretty happy right now.”The U.S. Freestyle Championships continue with the halfpipe on Saturday afternoon and the dual moguls Sunday on Red Dog.
2010 Sprint U.S. Freestyle ChampionshipsSquaw Valley - March 27, 2010AerialsMen1. Matt DePeters, Hamburg, N.Y., 214.872. Dylan Ferguson, Amesbury, Mass., 193.593. Nevin Brown, Streetsboro, Ohio, 190.87Women1. Emily Cook, Belmont, Mass., 173.142. Ashley Caldwell, Hamilton, Va., 163.573. Jana Lindsey, Black Hawk, S.D., 145.98