Anna Park and Emerson Smith both skied to strong wins at USSA Junior National Freestyle Championships, Anna in Moguls and Emerson in Dual Moguls, in Park City this past week, claiming their titles in a field of the top junior freestyle athletes in the country.
Park qualified 1st in the first round of competition and then improved on her performance in the final to seal the victory. Steamboat’s Avital Shimko took second and Winter Park’s Elizabeth O’Connell came third. 14 year old Olivia Giaccio won the U-15 division and took 4th in the overall with the highest air scores of the day. Tess Johnson took silver in U-15 and 6th overall. Taryn Baker in eighth, and Lindsey Eckhoff in 9th gave SSCV 5 of the top 10 juniors in the nation. Kaitlyn Harty in 12th and Katie Coyne in 13th also put down solid runs in the final. Morgan Harty crashed in the qualifier and ended up in 58th.
The win at Juniors marks a return to form for Park who missed the last two seasons due to injury. After a slow start at US Selections In December and failing to qualify for the Nor-Am tour, Anna went to work putting together a string of fine performances in the Rocky region. A second place at Winter Park and then wins at Telluride and Breckenridge built her confidence to compete against the returning Nor-Am skiers at Junior Nationals.
SSCV Freestyle Program Director John Dowling stated, “Anna charged the course and put together two really strong runs. The course was tight and a lot of the girls were holding back, but Anna stayed aggressive and that was the difference.”
Dowling went on to say, “We had a great team performance with 7 of our 8 girls making the final. They looked strong and stayed composed. Juniors is a tough event because it’s one of the few times all these top young skiers face off. The course set was the tightest we’ve seen this year and it definitely posed a challenge as far as finding the right amount of attack and tactic.”
On the men’s side in Moguls, SSCV’s Emerson Smith took silver and Hunter Bailey took bronze. Jack Kariotis from the Far West Region captured the gold. Hunter Bailey in 5th and Trevor Wahl in 10th landed SSCV four of the top ten spots in the Moguls competition. Matt Leseur made it to the finals landing in 13th place. Morgan Osborne took first in the qualifier run but did not finish his finals run.
“It was a competitive field for the men including several NorAm level athletes”, stated Riley Campbell, SSCV Freestyle Coach. “It was great to see Emerson and Hunter end up on the podium after performing incredibly well on the finals run.”
It was a huge day for the SSCV freestyle team in Dual Moguls this past Sunday. Emerson Smith took Gold and a Jr. National Championship title, with Jack Harty taking silver. SSCV’s Matt Leseur, Morgan Osborne and Trevor Wahl also stood in the Top 10 in 4th, 7th and 8th, respectively.
For the women Taryn Baker stood on the podium in Dual Moguls with the silver medal, with Katie Coyne and Olivia Giaccio also landing in the top 10 with 4th and 6th places, respectively.
“SSCV’s presence in the final bracket for duals was overwhelming with 5 of the top 8 spots for the men, including the winner, and 3 of the top 8 spots for the women, ” stated SSCV Freestyle Coach Riley Campbell.
Ezra Cope and John Leseur were two of the youngest competitors to qualify for Junior Nationals.
For a complete list of results go to http://teamparkcityunited.com/juniornats2015/