Lincoln Loop does the trick for Abrams
Red Dog was throwing bricks at Far West freestyle skiers last weekend, and Brent Abrams wasn’t about to roll over.
Abrams, a Heavenly Ski Resort sponsored pro rider, executed a new-school Lincoln Loop and heli-tail grab en route to winning Saturday’s men’s moguls event at Squaw Valley.
“On Saturday he rose to a whole new level,” said Greg Harrington, Abrams’ coach. “The kid is a great competitor and when you get him in the gate with some pressure, he performs.”
Icy conditions on Red Dog made for hard landings and a variety of injuries. Sierra-at-Tahoe’s Tamara Stamey was hospitalized with a damaged spleen and Heavenly Foundation stars Courtney Royce, Eric Nageotte and Ryan Hickey injured their knee, hip and shoulder, respectively.
“The skiers needed to back off on their speed and make sure they didn’t get too far back on their tails or they were gone,” said Heavenly coach Jere Crawford.
Abrams, rounding into form after a knee injury sidelined him last year and mononucleosis wiped out his dryland training this season, scored 24.41 to post the top overall mark and No. 1 J2 total on Saturday. It was his first Far West victory and it came with several Nor Am regulars in the field.
“I’ve been kind of hesitant coming off my knee injury, but I just laid down my run and tried not to stay too conservative,” Abrams said. “I wasn’t too confident beat the guys who just came from Nor Ams.”
The 16-year-old is only one of several Far West skiers performing the Lincoln Loop, a 360-degree rotation that resembles an airborne cartwheel.
“It’s one of the highest-scoring tricks to perform, but before the season (potential scoring) was a concern of ours,” Harrington said. “The local head judge (assured us) that if they are done well, they will score well.
“It’s new easy to get the new-school tricks. But it’s the new, young innovators who want to bring the sport to a new level who are bringing them out and throwing them.”
Having the Lincoln Loop in his bag of tricks has given Abrams added confidence.
“I kind of knew I was going to be up there because I’m doing all new-school tricks on the moguls course. Four of us are doing them right now and they’re scoring pretty good,” Abrams said.
Harrington hopes that Abrams will have another new trick in his arsenal in time for Junior Olympics in March in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Hickey, the top senior, was runner-up to Abrams at 23.67. Heavenly’s Sho Kashima also cracked the top 10 with a 23.39, making him No. 3 among J3s and sixth overall.
Also for Heavenly, Jerel Dutton was 11th overall and fourth J2, 20.83; Jimmy Roberts, 12th overall and first J4, 20.32; Nageotte, 17th overall and fifth J2, 18.51; Brandon Morgan, 29th overall and second J4, 15.30; and Scott Lusby, 32nd overall and 10th J2, 14.30.
Stamey was 12th among females and the fourth J2 with a run of 6.78 and Sierra teammate Luke Palmieri was 37th overall and 12th J2 with his score of 12.82.
Alpine Meadows’ Jessica Davis was the top woman.
On Sunday, with course conditions becoming firmer, Squaw Valley’s Scott Fitzmorris laid down the best run at 24.53.
Kashima improved to podium status with his third-place overall and top J2 score of 22.73. Abrams was right behind Kashima in both categories with a score of 21.09.
Dutton, Roberts and Nageotte weren’t far behind in seventh, 10th and 11th respectively. Roberts won the J4 class for the second straight day, earning a 19.03 mark from the judges. Dutton was the third J2 at 20.08 and Nageotte was fourth among J2s at 18.94.
Morgan was runner-up to Roberts in the J4 standings and 19th overall at 15.01.
Kashima continued his hot day, finishing second to Squaw’s Jordan Basile in the afternoon duals. Roberts was fourth, Dutton and Abrams top 16 and Nageotte and Morgan top 32.
A big air contest is set for Monday at 10 a.m. at Alpine Meadows. Moguls and duals will resume Jan. 25-26 at Heavenly.
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