Kashima named to U.S. freestyle team
Zephyr Cove skier is defending national champ
USSA and staff reports
Although he knew it back in May, South Shore bump skier Sho Kashima was officially named to the 2006-07 U.S. Freestyle Team on Thursday. Kashima, who won the dual moguls title at the U.S. Freestyle Championships in March, joins nine Olympians on a team that is without South Lake Tahoe’s Travis Cabral, who announced his retirement earlier this week.
“It’s a good opportunity and I’m pretty excited,” said Kashima, who competed in four camps this summer with the team after nationals last spring. “I’m just going to keep working on my turns and getting stronger. Especially starting on the “C” team, you have to do certain things to keep your spot. You’re not guaranteed of being there next year.”
Reigning world champions Nate Roberts (Park City, Utah) and Hannah Kearney (Norwich, Vt.) join former Olympic medalist and Tahoe City native Shannon Bahrke as the 30-member team’s biggest names. The freestyle team includes 14 men and 16 men, nine of which are former Olympians.
Jeremy Bloom, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, was named to the “B” team, but is not expected to compete this season.
“I’m excited for this season,” said program director Polly-Jo Clark. “We’ve got a great crew of athletes who’ve been working hard all summer and are looking forward to the competition season. It’s a great mix of veterans and young guns who will keep everyone on their toes. Some will need to gain experience on the World Cup and everything that comes with it.”
In addition to Cabral, Toby Dawson also retired following the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, where he won a bronze medal. Other prominent names to retire are two-time World Championships bronze medalist Joe Pack, 2002 Olympic moguls silver medalist Travis Mayer and aerialist Eric Bergoust, the 1998 Olympic champion.
The World Cup aerials season lost its season opener earlier this month because of poor snow conditions at Australia’s Mount Buller. The aerials season resumes on Dec. 9-10 at Jilin Beida Lake, China. The first moguls contest is scheduled for Dec. 14 in Tignes, France.
U.S. World Cup events are Jan. 11-13 at the Chevrolet Freestyle International at Deer Valley, Utah, and the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup Jan. 18-20 at Lake Placid, N.Y. The World Championships will be held Jan. 23-28 in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy.
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