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Vail freeski team shows depth, skills at nationals

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Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete Sammy Schuiling airs off a jump en route to a second-place finish in the open division slopestyle competition at USASA Nationals last week. Schuiling was also nominated to the U.S. Freeskiing Rookie Team this week, said coach E. Chase.
USASA | Special to the Daily |

USASA NATIONALS
COMPLETE VAIL TEAM RESULTS

Slopestyle
Open Division
Sammy Schuiling, 2nd place
Age 16-17
Emerson Lawton, 2nd place
Age 14-15
Brynn Wedlake, 3rd
Age 12-13
Ava Surridge, 4th
Age 10-11
Kailey Thayers, 1st place
Roxy Surridge, 2nd place
Erik Jearbyn, 5th place
Age 8-9
Sydney Thompson, 7th

Halfpipe
Open Division
Lennon Vaughan, 2nd place
Sammy Schuiling, 5th place
Age 16-17
Pearson Black, 5th place
Age 14-15
Brynn Wedlake, 1st place
Jack Ganley, 7th place
Michael Brown, 9th place
Age 12-13
Ava Surridge - 4th place
Owen Grimmer - 9th place
Noah Gionfriddo - 10th place
Age 10-11
Kailey Thayer, 3rd place
Roxy Surridge, 4th place
Whit Hyde - 5th place
Erik Jearbyn - 10th place

Skier Cross
Age 16-17
Zoe Livran - 1st place
Haley Lucas, 2nd place
Pearson Black, 4th place
Age 14-15
Ari Diamond Topelson, 8th place
Age 12-13
Adam Eisenhauer, 6th place
Ava Surridge, 8th place
Noah Gionfriddo, 8th place
Owen Grimmer, 8th place
Age 10-11
Kailey Thayers - 5th place
Whit Hyde, 6th place
Erik Jearbyn, 7th place

Roxy Surridge - 9th place


Overall
Age 16-17
Pearson Black, 2nd place
Age 14-15
Jack Ganley, 2nd place
Age 12-13
Ava Surridge, 1st place
Owen Grimmer, 3rd place
Noah Gionfriddo, 3rd place
Adam Eisenhauer, 7th place
Lachlan Crick, 10th place
Age 10-11
Kailey Thayer, 1st place
Roxy Surridge, 2nd place
Erik Jearbyn, 2nd place
Whit Hyde, 5th place
Truett Bennett, 5th place

COPPER MOUNTAIN — Nationals for freeskiiers wrapped up last week, and Ski Club Vail sent more than 30 athletes to the competition.

With one of the largest teams at a national event, Ski Club Vail’s freeskiing program saw podium finishers from several different age groups, from groms to teenagers to the Open Class and in both boys and girls divisions.

Starting from the youngest, Sydney Thompson, a Ski Club Vail athlete from Denver, skied her way to one of the only two top-10 finishes among Colorado girls in the 8-9 year old division.

“I combed the results and realized that while Sydney may not have won her events, it took a lot of courage to compete considering she was one of only 8 Colorado kids (boys or girls) to be invited to the entire national event,” said director Elana Chase.

There were no athletes from Colorado in the 7 year old and under division.

“Granted that is a young age to start competing, but considering this national event is in our backyard and we have such strong local series for qualifying events, with free entry in this age group, I hope my phone starts ringing this fall from families that want to enroll their kids in our SSCV freeski program,” Chase said. “We would do very well in this category.”

Chase describes freeskiing as a sport that produces valuable life lessons.

“It’s another tool that allows us to teach that great legacy of skiing in our Vail Valley and that outdoor lifestyle,” she said.

Team Vail had more than 10 athletes claiming overall awards and achieved three podiums in the 10-11 year old division. In the Overall Award; Kailey Thayer was first place and Roxy Surridge was second place for the girls division. Erik Jearbyn took silver for the boys. The Overall award combines skier cross, halfpipe and slopestyle results.

‘NEVER GIVE UP’

Ski Club Vail teenagers had significant results also, with Pearson Blacks earning a silver medal in the overall for the 16 to 17 year olds. Blacks achieved top five finishes in both skier cross and halfpipe.

Brynn Wedlake, also a Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy student and Ski Club Vail athlete, snagged first place in halfpipe and third place in slopestyle. These results clinch her spot for an invite to the U.S. Ski Team Camp later in May, called Gold Camp. Most likely invited back to Gold Camp as well will be anther academy student and club athlete, Ava Surridge. Surridge won the best award of the week at the USASA National event, taking home the best female trick for her inverted flat 360 with a grab. For the trick, she won a free on-snow summer camp in Oregon.

From the small but solid skier cross contingency, Zoe Livran took first place for the 16-17 year old division women, and Halsey Lucas took second for mens in the same division.

Emerson Lawton had the breakout performance of the week with his silver medal in the Men’s Slopestyle 16 to 17 year old age division.

“The competitions level in this group was almost that of the Open Class,” Chase said. “This level of skiing, plus Emerson’s lackluster results for his whole season — not even qualifying for any finals — certainly put a lot of pressure on his shoulders. To do well here at USASA Nationals … he must qualify into a finals with a new trick, the right double cork 1260, this trick he just perfecting in the morning training.”

Lawton landed it in competition on the same day and landed the whole run perfectly.

“Plus Emerson left it all to his second run of finals to stomp it,” Chase said. “It created quite the suspense … I had the pleasure of standing on the sideline, with his parents, friends, other coaches to watch it all happen. It was pure jubilee to watch him land that run and hear the score. This was one of my top moments of the season. This podium finish really teaches those tried and true lessons — always keep working, always find optimism in your day and never give up.”

SCHUILING MAKES ROOKIE TEAM

Finally, in the most competitive open division, Vail men took home a pair of silver medals with Lennon Vaughan finishing second in halfpipe and Sammy Schuiling taking second in slopestyle. Schuiling was also nominated to the U.S. Ski Team this week.

“This U.S. Freeskiing Rookie Team nomination puts Sammy in a good position heading into this new Olympic year,” Chase said.


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