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Bahrke collects key criteria finish

USSA report

MONT GABRIEL, Que. – Defending World Cup champion Jeremy Bloom of Loveland, Colo., who clinched his second Olympic berth by winning the U.S. Ski Team Olympic Trials a week earlier, finished second Saturday in the first World Cup moguls of the new year as U.S. men went 2-4-5-6-7-8.

Travis Cabral of South Lake Tahoe finished eighth – his second top-eight finish in the 2005-06 season.

Olympic silver medalist Shannon Bahrke of Tahoe City, continuing her rebound from injuries that trimmed her last two seasons, earned her first top-5 of the season, finishing fourth in the women’s contest. Michelle Roark of Denver was fifth to give the U.S. Ski Team two top-5 finishers.

“That’s my first top-5, my first Olympic qualifying criteria result and I’m very happy,” said Bahrke, the 2003 World Cup champ who fractured her jaw in a bizarre accident midway through the 2004 season and then tore knee ligaments last winter. “This was good, very good.”

Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau, who won both the moguls and dual moguls national championships last March at Mont Gabriel, won the men’s event with 27.66 points to 26.97 for Bloom, who led the qualifying run. Travis Mayer was fourth, Toby Dawson fifth, Dave Babic sixth and Nate Roberts.

“It was a tough day, but we had a lot of people in the top 10 in each comp,” said U.S. head coach Jeff Wintersteen, “and five in the top five, so we didn’t get a win, and ‘only’ Jeremy’s podium, but it was a good step back into competition for us.

“I could see in their eyes they’re ready to really step it up next week at Deer Valley. I liked an awful lot of what I saw today from our athletes.”

For the women, Olympic champion Kari Traa of Norway won with 26.80 while World Cup champion and current leader Jennifer Heil of Canada was second (26.32). Behind Bahrke (25.35) for the Americans were Roark, Jillian Vogtli in eighth place, Emiko Torito in 11th and Laurel Shanley of Reno 16th.

The visit to Mont Gabriel, west of Montreal in the Laurentians, was necessitated by a reported labor dispute at Mont Tremblant, the originally schedule site. From here, the World Cup moves to Deer Valley, Utah, the 2002 Olympic freestyle venue and host of the 2003 World Championships, for the Chevrolet Freestyle International Friday and Saturday. Then it’s on to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the ature Valley Freestyle Cup Jan. 20-22, the final Olympic qualifying event before the Olympic Team is named Jan. 25.

FREESTYLE WORLD CUP

Mont Gabriel, QUE – Jan. 7, 2006

Moguls (16 made finals)

Men

1. Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada, 27.66

2. Jeremy Bloom, Loveland, Colo., 26.97

3. Janne Lahtela, Finland, 26.86

4. Travis Mayer, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 26.79

5. Toby Dawson, Vail, Colo., 26.51

6. Dave Babic, Washington, Vt., 26.36

7. Nate Roberts, Park City, Utah, 26.11

8. Travis Cabral, South Lake Tahoe, Calif., 26.05

41. Luke Westerlund, Breckenridge, Colo.

Women

1. Kari Traa, Norway, 26.80

2. Jennifer Heil, Canada, 26.32

3. Nikola Sudova, Czech Republic, 25.88

4. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, Calif., 25.35

5. Michelle Roark, Denver, 25.24

8. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, N.Y., 23.46

11. Emiko Torito, Denver, 23.16

16. Laurel Shanley, Squaw Valley, Calif., 13.58

26. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, Vt.


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