South Shore phenom Cabral wows skiing world with national championship win
Travis Cabral has always been ahead of his time on skis.
From the time the South Shore bumper first began skiing at age 3 through his stunning win in the Chevy Truck U.S. Freestyle Championships Saturday in Deer Valley, Utah, few skiers his age have been able to keep pace.
Now, the 15-year-old sophomore at South Tahoe High, has reeled in the biggest fish of them all in U.S. skiing – Jonny Moseley. Cabral transformed the nationals into a battle for second place. He overwhelmed the Olympic gold medalist and the rest of the field by nearly a point and a half at the site of the 2002 Winter Games.
“This was by far the best run of my life,” said Cabral, who learned that his national gold medal earned him a spot on next year’s “B” team. “I
can’t explain how great it feels. I’ve competed against these guys growing up and it feels great to get a win here.”
Based on his performance in turns, speed and two aerial jumps, Cabral earned a high score of 28.10, 1.32 more points more than runner-up Caleb Martin of Telluride, Colo.
Tony Basile of Squaw Valley was third at 26.72, followed by Moseley – the winner of moguls portion of the Bumps and Jumps Friday at Heavenly Ski Resort – at 26.64.
Left off the U.S. Ski Team this winter after an impressive fifth-place dual moguls showing at last year’s nationals, Cabral quietly dominated regional events around Lake Tahoe.
In fact, Cabral went into last week’s national qualifier in Snowbird, Utah, under the assumption that he needed to crack the top 15 to qualify for nationals. However, after arriving, officials informed him that his regional success earned him a bye.
“I didn’t compete in Nor Ams. I did the World Cup selection events in December. I was third in one of those, and then I stayed home and trained for the whole year. I was training to win this, and now I did,” said Cabral, who executed a triple twister on the top jump and a double twister spread on the bottom.”
Back home in South Lake Tahoe, the news reached an elated Travis Ramos, Cabral’s good friend and Sierra-at-Tahoe training partner.
“I didn’t go around jumping up and down and screaming. I wasn’t surprised, because I’ve spent a lot of time with Travis this year. He’s trained and worked with a diligence that’s way beyond his years. That sort of drive can be fueled with a youthful dream as his,” said Ramos, a U.S. Ski Team member who has nearly recovered from a torn ACL suffered prior to the season.
“Ever since I’ve know him, he’s been some sort of skiing prodigy. He’s always listened to his coaches, and it’s paid off for him here.”
South Shore’s Chris Hernandez and Brooke Ballachey also performed among the top 10. Hernandez, competing in his first full season since tearing an anterior cruciate ligament, was eighth with a score of 25.60. Ballachey, the world’s fourth-best duals skier, finished ninth at 22.45 in the women’s competition, which was won by world champion Ann Battelle of Steamboat Springs.
On Sunday, Cabral added a fourth-place finish in dual moguls to his unfathomable nationals.
Cabral lost to eventual winner Ryan Riley of Steamboat Springs, Colo., in the semifinals.
“This was a lot of fun, and all the pressure was off after I beat (Cabral) in the semifinals,” Riley said.
Basile, like Cabral, came to nationals as a qualifier and not a U.S. team member. He lost Riley in the finals, capping his most successful nationals ever.
Battelle also won the women’s duals, while Shannon Bahrke of Tahoe City finished in a tie for fifth.
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