Vail Daily column: It’s championship season for local skiers
March 24, 2014
During this final month of snowsports training at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, alpine, freeskiing, freestyle, Nordic and snowboard athletes are competing in championship competitions. Among these were the Freestyle Junior Nationals and Alpine U18 Nationals.
Freestyle Junior Nationals took place in Park City, Utah, from March 13-16, featuring the top 50 junior freestyle mogul skiers in the country age 18 and younger. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail had a record 13 athletes qualify for this event: Morgan Schild, Erin Coyne, Taryn Baker, Lindsey Eckhoff, Kaitlyn Harrell, Katie Coyne, Olivia Giaccio, Natalie Berger and Tess Johnson for the girls and Emerson Smith, Alex DeBonville, Chris Leseur, Matt Leseur and Hunter Bailey for the boys.
MAKING VAIL PROUD
These mogulists, as young as 13 years of age, did the town of Vail proud at Junior Nationals. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete highlights included:
• Morgan Schild second overall in singles and second overall in dual moguls for the women.
• Emerson Smith second overall in singles and second overall in dual moguls for the men.
• Hunter Bailey first in J1 men's singles.
• Olivia Giaccio second and Katie Coyne third in J3 ladies singles.
• The Vail J1 ladies swept the podium on singles day with Morgan Schild in first, Kaitlyn Harrell in second and Taryn Baker in third.
• As overall winner of moguls and dual moguls, Emerson Smith was awarded a complimentary USA Pro Mogul Summer Camp.
• For a full list of results visit 2014- freestyle-jr-nationals.com/results.html.
Not only was there Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete pride on snow for our freestyle athletes, but the team won the Freestyle Junior Nationals Dodge Ball Tournament for the second year in the row, another coveted award among spirited junior freestyle competitors from around the country!
Based on points, all of the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes who qualified for the Freestyle Junior Nationals also qualified for the US Freestyle Nationals next weekend in Deer Valley. However, three of those who qualified are actually too young to compete there and two of them, Morgan Schild and Hunter Bailey, qualified for, and are off to compete in Junior Worlds, earning two of the four coveted spots for the top juniors in the U.S.
The winners of the US Freestyle Nationals and the winning US athletes at Freestyle Junior Worlds will receive an invitation to the US Freestyle Team for next season, so stay tuned for results.
We couldn't be prouder of the accomplishment of these Ski & Snowboard Club Vail freestyle athletes and can't wait to watch them in the remaining events this year and over the next four years on the road to Korea!
On the alpine racing side, Copper Mountain played host to the U18 Nationals earlier this month, where 14 Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes qualified to compete: Grace Merriman, Zoe Spanos, Abigail Murer, Erika McCormick, Montana Marzario, Katie Talbot, Heidi Livran, Bryan Bailey, Clay Kirwood, Florian Szwebel, Logan Martin, Ryan Schmidt and Vail's U18 National Training Group members Rachel DesRochers and Megan McGrew. This competition series gathers the top qualifying 1996 and 1997 birth year male and female alpine racers in the country.
Highlights from U18 Nationals
Highlights from the U18 Nationals downhill, super-G, giant slalom and slalom events for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes included the following:
• Florian Szwebel won the overall men's title for the series (qualifying him to compete in U.S. Nationals) as well as taking second in super-G and sixth in both giant slalom and slalom.
• Erika McCormick took third in giant slalom.
• Megan McGrew was third in slalom.
• Heidi Livran took fifth in downhill.
• Rachel DesRochers had three top 10s highlighted with a sixth in GS.
• Bryan Bailey won the second run of the slalom.
• For complete results go to http://www.live-timing.com
US Nationals, which just ended in Squaw Valley, played host to US Ski Team members, NCAA athletes and top alpine seniors, U21's and U18's from across the country. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes Alex Leever, Sean McCormick, Seppi Stiegler, Bailey, Kirwood, Szwebel, Murer, Erika McCormick, DesRochers, McGrew and Marzario qualified for a coveted spot at this event along with numerous Vail alumni competing for the U.S. Ski Team and colleges and universities around the country. Leever had his second consecutive junior podium with a silver medal in the slalom continuing to prove himself as one of the elite young slalom skiers in the world.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete updates from other championships series.