Kashima steals the ‘Sho’
March 26, 2006
South Shore has quietly established itself as the national bump capital.
Sho Kashima became the third area freestyle skier in five years to win a national championship when the 19-year-old Stateline resident captured the duals title on Sunday at the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships at Killington, Vt.
Kashima, who was participating in his fourth national championships, beat three U.S. Ski Team members en route to his first victory.
“I know I was competing against the top athletes in the country,” said Kashima “so I just tried to let it rip, ski as fast as I can, and take the bottom air as huge as possible.”
Kashima joined South Shore skiers Travis Cabral (1999, 2004) and Travis Ramos (2002) as the area’s only other national champions in the past five years. Chris Hernandez won a national aerials title in the 1990s.
Heavenly Ski and Snowboard Foundation freestyle coach Jere Crawford wasn’t surprised to see Kashima win. He mentioned his athlete’s domination of Far West events the past two years as proof the talent was always there.
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“I knew he had the capacity to win this because he’s a real fast skier,” Crawford said. “You have to be a fast skier to win in duals. He had a lot of close duals, but he pulled it off. He’s pretty happy. He’s kind of in shock.”
Crawford said there’s a solid chance Kashima will be added to the U.S. Ski Team because of Sunday’s result, especially since Olympians Jeremy Bloom and Travis Mayer are retiring. Regardless of if that happens, Kashima certainly drew the interest from the team’s coaches.
“We knew Sho was an up-and-comer,” said U.S. Ski Team technical coach Liz McIntyre. “To see him ski so well along with his skill package is really heartening. It’s been neat to watch him come up through the ranks. It shows what a strong national program we have.”
In the single moguls event on Friday, Kashima finished seventh with a score of 24.43 points, but it was Cabral who represented Tahoe best in that event.
The South Shore Olympian nearly pulled off his fourth national championship, finishing runner-up to David Babic of Washington, Vt. Cabral’s final run scored 26.36 points, compared to Babic’s 26.69.
Babic, frustrated about the Olympics because he didn’t make the squad for Torino, said he changed the lane of his run Thursday and it allowed him “to go at least 10 feet higher and carry more speed out of the jump. I think that was a big key.”
Babic said it took him “a couple of weeks” after missing the Olympic Team to get back into a competitive mindset.
“I skied the World Cup the next week (Madonna di Campiglio, Italy) and my head just wasn’t there, so I told myself I had to get over it. I’ve still got a lot to do. My career didn’t end when I didn’t make the Olympics.”
Two other South Shore competitors and a North Shore skier finished in the top 12 in singles and were separated by several tenths of a point.
South Tahoe High School sophomore Jimmy Roberts, 15, placed ninth (24.41), while Carnelian Bay’s Jordan Basile edged Roberts for eighth place (24.42). Jay Panther finished 12th (24.16). Roberts made the round of 16 in duals, while Panther qualified 22nd in the 45-skier field.
Hannah Kearney won her second U.S. women’s title with a score of 26.85 points. Heather McPhie of Bozeman, Mont., took the silver medal (26.05) and Olympian Michelle Roark of Denver was the bronze medalist (25.53). Kerney also won Sunday’s duals.
“It was really nice. It was very satisfying,” said Kearney, the 2003 national moguls champion. “It’s been a frustrating year but this was nice.”
South Lake Tahoe 14-year-old Hannah Curtzwiler placed 19th in singles (20.12) and qualified 30th in duals. She was highest finisher of any skier her age.
2006 SPRINT U.S. FREESTYLE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Killington, VT – March 24, 2006
1. David Babic, Washington, Vt., 26.69 points
2. Travis Cabral, South Lake Tahoe, 26.36
3. Jay Bowman-Kirigin, Salt Lake City, 25.87
4. Tim Preston, Campton, N.H., 25.30
5. Patrick Deneen, Cle Elum, Wash., 24.99
6. Landon Gardner, Park City, Utah, 24.88
7. Sho Kashima, Stateline, 24.43
8. Jordan Basile, Carnelian Bay, 24.42
9. Jimmy Roberts, South Lake Tahoe, 24.41
10. Joseph Discoe, Ridgway, Colo., 24.34
1. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, Vt., 26.85
2. Heather McPhie, Bozeman, Mont., 26.05
3. Michelle Roark, Denver, 25.53
4. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, 25.05
5. McKenzy Golding, Reno, 24.91
6. Shelly Robertson, Reno, 24.59
7. Eliza Outtrim, Hamden, Conn., 24.48
8. Emiko Torito, Denver, 24.18
9. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, N.Y., 24.03
10. Kayla Snyderman, Winchester, Mass., 23.89
2006 SPRINT U.S. FREESTYLE CHAMPIONSHIPS
MARCH 26, 2006
NATURE VALLEY FREESTYLE CHALLENGE Ð DUAL MOGULS
1. Sho Kashima, Zephyr Cove.
2. David Babic, Washington, Vt.
3. Bryon Wilson, S. Taylorsville, Utah
4. David DiGravio, Farmington, Maine
1. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, Vt.
2. Sarah Ruckriegle, Breckenridge, Colo.
3. McKenzy Golding, Reno, Nev.
4. Caterina Mader, Steamboat Springs, Colo.
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