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April 2, 2013
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Heavenly athletes tear up Freestyle Championships

The best mogul skiers all showed up for the Freestyle Championships, but some of them didn’t have far to travel.

Heavenly Foundation skiers Taryn Baker, Zach Shearer, Yamato Kashima, Joshua Sullivan and Shanti Payne were all contenders in the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships at Heavenly Mountain Resort this past weekend. The five South Tahoe skiers all competed in single moguls Friday and duals on Saturday.

The Championship course ripped down Gunbarrel, Heavenly’s long, steep and mogul-covered face. It’s one of the best mogul venues in the world, but warm temperatures baked the snow into mashed potatoes last weekend, making it deep and tricky to navigate.

Baker made it look too easy. She skied clean runs both days, finishing 17th in singles and 13th in duals.

“Awesome results for a 15-year-old in her first Nationals,” coach Jere Crawford said.

Baker has dominated the mogul scene this season. The 15-year-old is undefeated in both single and dual mogul competitions in the Far West, and made the dual qualifying round amid a stacked field of U.S. Ski Team members. She skied her way into dual finals and was narrowly eliminated by Lane Stoltzner, who went on to claim fifth place.

Payne put it together when it counted with his gravity-defying airs to win 21st place in singles among a field of 66 of the best mogul skiers in the world.

Shearer wasn’t far behind. He stepped up his game to land in 32nd place in singles, impressive results for a J-3.

Kashima had a couple of rough runs on the sticky snow, but still wowed the crowd with his patented gigantic truck driver loops.

“Sullivan ripped some great turns and went upstairs off the airs,” Crawford said.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Apr 3, 2013 01:46PM Published Apr 2, 2013 06:32PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.