Ballachey second in U.S. select event |

Ballachey second in U.S. select event

Michael Traum

Results ranged from super to so-so for local freestylers in a U.S. Ski Team event Thursday at Snowbird in Utah.

The two-day “selection” contest, which concludes Saturday, will fill two remaining spots on both the men’s and women’s U.S. rosters for a pair of upcoming North American World Cup tour stops. Cumulative performances over the two days will determine the winners.

“B” team member Brooke Ballachey, who already has a spot for the World Cup events, skied to a second-place finish with a score of 24.03. The result was good, according to the 18-year-old, since it was her first major competition since returning from a blown knee suffered at the beginning of last season.

“I just came out to gain some confidence. Right now, it’s about getting used to competing and jumping. After the surgery, I didn’t have confidence problems in getting my turns back. But jumping really scared me, ” said Ballachey, who displayed a pair of spread-twister-spreads in two runs.

Cristie Tibbetts, representing Heavenly Ski Foundation and the Far West, overcame a cold to post a respectable seventh-place score of 22.07. Rocky Mountain qualifier Lindley Hoard impressed everyone with a winning score of 24.05.

On the men’s side, first-year team member Chris Hernandez of South Lake Tahoe continued to climb the U.S. ladder, reeling off a fourth-place score of 25.65. The 19-year-old “C”teamer said he’s adjusting well to the higher competition.

“You know everyone on the mountain is a good skier. You’ll see something good on every run. It’s a whole new level and it’s even harder now, especially if you want to be No. 1,” he said. “(My run) went well. I was stoked with it.”

Fellow “C” teamer Travis Ramos didn’t fair as well, posting an 11th-place mark. He was perplexed following his first run in which he earned a 24.38 score for fourth place – a run he characterized as one of his “best ever” in competition.

“I was racking my brain to figure out what I had to do better,” said Ramos, who uncorked a double twister spread and iron cross/twister spread jump combination in the first run. “The air judges told me after (the competition) they should’ve scored that first run higher. (I didn’t know that), so I just pushed it too far on the second run. I’m disappointed but definitely not out of it.”

“A” teamer Garth Hager was first after the first day with a score of 26.65.

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