Kashima advances to nationals | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Kashima advances to nationals

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Heavenly Foundation freestyle skier Sho Kashima extended his season an extra week by qualifying for this week’s national championships.

Kashima, 16, qualified for single and dual moguls at the national qualifiers Saturday and Sunday at Alpine Meadows. He was eighth in singles and seventh in duals.

Competitors had to finish in the top 15 to qualify for the Chevy Truck U.S. Freestyle Championships, which are scheduled for Friday through Sunday at Montana Snowbowl in Missoula, Mont.

Kashima will join local World Cup regulars Travis Cabral, Chris Hernandez, Shannon Bahrke and Shelly Robertson at the championships.

“He’s just had a great year and he’s improved a lot,” said Heavenly coach Jere Crawford. “I think he can be right in there. Man, he’s really close to the big guys.”

Kevin Hanian won the men’s single moguls with a score of 27.09 on Saturday. Squaw Valley’s Jesse Jenison was second at 27.01. Kashima scored 25.90, raising his career-best total because of his creativity off the jumps.

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“He has really good jumps … two helicopters with maneuvers,” Crawford said. “We worked hard all week to figure out the course and we got it figured out just in time.”

Heavenly pro rider Brent Abrams was 24th (24.92) and Heavenly Foundation’s Jerel Dutton and Thomas Schwindeman were 42nd (23.76) and 49th (23.34), respectively.

The top 45 finishers automatically qualified for next season’s selection qualifiers.

Jaclyn Paaso won the women’s singles with a run of 26.80, while Courtney Royce of Heavenly came in 27th at 22.39.

Jenison continued to ski well on Sunday, winning the men’s duals. Kashima led Heavenly with his seventh-place finish, while Dutton, Schwindeman and Eric Nageotte made the round of 64. Royce qualified for the round of 32 on the women’s side.

Heavenly’s Jimmy Roberts, 12, was also eligible to compete in duals but declined his invitation.