Local racers give national events U-Tahoe feel
Several area youth athletes left the rapidly-melting confines of Lake Tahoe this week for a pair of national freestyle skiing competitions in Utah.
Amber Ramos, 12, just missed a trip to nationals, finishing 20th overall in Monday’s U.S. Freestyle National Championship Qualifiers in Snowbird, Utah. Competing against racers, some 20 years her senior, Ramos stood tall in 10th place after the first round before dropping back after her second run.
The top 15 in the men’s and women’s events will proceed to the U.S. Nationals next weekend in Deer Valley, Utah. The Sierra skier will switch gears today, competing in the National Upright Aerials championships in Park City, Utah.
Sore shins kept Heavenly skier Ryan Hickey out of Monday’s upright aerials, but the 15-year-old talent should be ready to go for today’s bumps events, Heavenly Ski Foundation coach Jere Crawford said. Hickey is one of just five youth racers in the country in the 15-16 age group to make it to today’s national bump qualifiers. The top 20 will go on to compete this weekend at the championships in Deer Valley.
South Shore freestyle expert Travis Woodcock, ranked No. 36 in the U.S. freestyle points list, is an accomplished aerialist but will compete only in today’s moguls event for Heavenly.
“Both Travis and Ryan have looked good in training and have a real nice shot to qualify for nationals,” said Crawford, who is in Utah with the Heavenly racers. “There are plenty of quality racers up here, but when Ryan and Travis did their training runs, they looked just as good as anybody else.”
Sierra freestyler Travis Cabral, who has a bye already for national freestyle competition, is attending the event in a coach/spectator capacity, he said.
In other local news, Squaw Valley teamer Laurel Shanley broke her collarbone during training Monday afternoon and will miss the U.S. Freestyle Nationals competition. Shanley already had secured a bid to nationals and was not scheduled to compete this week in Snowbird.
J3 racer Jessica Davis finished 14th Monday, qualifying for nationals.
Local J3 racers keep on tickin’ at Rolex Nationals:
South Shore downhillers kicked off the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Rolex Junior Olympic Alpine Championships Monday at Bogus Basin Ski Resort in Boise, Idaho, with several excellent performances.
Cory Harris, a South Tahoe High Alpine skier, led the local contingent with a fifth-place mark in the giant slalom. In a field that included 97 of the country’s best male J3 racers, Harris finished with a 1:18.44 time, finishing less than a second out of third place.
Diana Higman raced to a 1:22.74 time and 13th place overall in the girls competition.
Fellow Viking skiers Danny Lear (1:18.63) and Chris McKean (1:18.69) were not too far behind, placing ninth and 11th, respectively; STHS skier Chris Little placed 40th with a 1:21.81 time.
Whittell racers Sean Weatherston and Ben Johnson also tested their promisnig wares in Idaho, finishing 27th and 30th, respectively.
The three-day event includes super-G, giant slalom and slalom events and will run until Wednesday.
The J3 circuit includes racers ages 13-14. A male and female winner in each discipline, plus overall combined winners and a sportsmanship award recipient will be named to the Rolex Junior Ski Team. The Rolex team identifies young racers with the greatest potential for further advancement in the USSA’s national development program.
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