|Posted by jibcrib on April 3, 2009 at 4:36 PM|
SQUAW VALLEY, CA (March 27) - It was a day for new champions as Bryon Wilson (Butte, MT) and Michelle Roark (Denver) each won the first moguls U.S. title of their careers Friday as the 2009 Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships kicked off in Squaw Valley.
"It's an emotional win because I've been at this a long time and I have a lot of World Cup titles, but I've never won nationals in singles. It was just very overwhelming and very exciting for me," Roark said. "Squaw Valley, I have never been here, but they put on an amazing event and it was so much fun to ski the moguls on their course. It was real moguls skiing and it felt so good."
Roark threw her first backflip of the season off the top jump and a bronco off the bottom.
Roark's win was a close call in a tie breaker with teammate Hannah Kearney which factored in a judge by judge comparison of air and speed. According to the new champ, laying down a winning run was worth the wait.
"It was a really rough World Cup season and it just felt so good to some here and lay on a run," Roark said.
While Kearney was happy for Roark, losing in a tie breaker has made her hungry for a victory in duals later this weekend.
"I'm really happy for Michelle. She's never won a moguls title before. I'm proud of her for skiing well," Kearney said. "But, I tied for first and lost it in a tie breaker. It gives me some fire for dual moguls. I don't want to lose again and duals are a great way to get out your aggression, so I plan on bringing that forward."
Finishing third for the women was local legend Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA) who was happy to be competing in her hometown with friends and family watching.
"It was better than I could have expected. Everyone was out here cheering and the sun was shining and my coach who died last year was watching over me, so it was amazing," Bahrke said.
For Wilson, locking in his first U.S. championship title required letting go and giving the competition everything he had.
"It feels like nothing you can imagine. This whole season was kind of slow. I came into this event and I really wanted," Wilson said. "I was 12th in qualifying, so I just let it all hang out and it worked out."
Wilson threw a double full off the top jump and a cork 7 from the bottom to win the competition, and hopes that another title could be in the future for him.
"It's a confidence builder, for sure. I always knew I could do it. Today was the day," Wilson said. "Hopefully I can do a repeat in duals."
Following Wilson was 2008 U.S. champion Michael Morse (Duxbury, MA).
"I was excited that I skied pretty well. I really wanted to repeat, though," Morse said. "I laid down a pretty good run, but it probably wasn't my best, so I got second, which I'm happy with. I'm also happy for Bryon to win his first title."
Finishing things out in third was teammate Joe Discoe (Ridgway, CO) who was happy to finally find his rhythm.
"I just had one little mistake, which kept me off from being a little higher up on the podium, but getting third is great," Discoe said. "I finally found the skiing I was looking for and I was able to carry it through into this week and into this competition."
The 2009 Sprint U.S. Freestyle championships continue Saturday with skier halfpipe.
2009 SPRINT U.S. FREESTYLE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Squaw Valley, CA - March 27, 2009
1. Bryon Wilson, Butte, MT, 26.23
2. Michael Morse, Duxbury, MA, 26.18
3. Joe Discoe, Ridgway, CO, 25.90
4. Reed Snyderman, Winchester, MA, 25.69
5. Sho Kashima, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 25.61
6. Dave DiGravio, Farmington, ME, 25.53
7. Bradley Wilson, Taylorsville, UT, 24.43+ 3 (tie breaker)
8. Cody Tempel, Missoula, MT, 24.43 +2
9. Jay Panther, Las Vegas, NV, 24.42
10. Jeremy Cota, Steamboat Springs, CO, 23.91
1. Michelle Roark, Denver, 26.33 + 3 (tie breaker)
2. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, VT, +2
3. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, CA, 26.03
4. Shelly Robertson, Reno, NV, 25.40
5. Emiko Torito, Denver, 24.78
6. Heather McPhie, Park City, UT, 24.70
7. Eliza Outtrim, Steamboat Springs, CO, 24.56
8. Laurel Shanley, Squaw Valley, CA, 24.10
9. K C Oakley, Piedmont, CA, 24.03
10. Allison DiGravio, Farmington, ME, 23.69
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For complete results click here.