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3 Steamboat products advance to women’s U.S. mogul finals

U.S. Freestyle Championships — women's moguls qualifiers

1 Hannah Kearney, 87.02

2 Nessa Dziemian, 85.95

3 Mikaela Matthews, 84.13

4 KC Oakley, 83.51

5 Keaton McCargo, 82.42

6 Sophia Schwartz, 81.68

7 Lane Stoltzner, 80.60

8 Anna Park, 75.76

9 Hallee Ray, 75.65

10 Taryn Baker, 75.57

11 Kelly Lawson, 73.93

12 Elizabeth O'Connell, 71.98

13 Sophia Marseilles, 69.66

14 Alex Jenson, 69.42

15 Ali Kariotis, 69.11

16 Morgan Shaver, 68.58

U.S. Freestyle Championships — Friday schedule

■ Men's mogul qualifications inspection, 8:45 to 9 a.m.

■ Men's mogul qualifications training, 9:10 to 10 a.m.

■ Men's mogul qualifications, 10:15 to 11:50 a.m.

■ Women's mogul finalist inspection, 11:50 a.m. to noon

■ Women's and men's mogul finalist training, 12:05 to 12:45 p.m.

■ Women's mogul finals, 1 to 1:30 p.m.

■ Men's mogul finals, 1:30 to 2 p.m.

■ Mogul awards, 4 p.m., Gondola Square

— It’s a simple strategy for freestyle skier Sophia Schwartz, but also one that’s about as foolproof as an athlete can ask for.

U.S. Freestyle Championships — women’s moguls qualifiers

1 Hannah Kearney, 87.02



2 Nessa Dziemian, 85.95

3 Mikaela Matthews, 84.13



4 KC Oakley, 83.51

5 Keaton McCargo, 82.42

6 Sophia Schwartz, 81.68

7 Lane Stoltzner, 80.60

8 Anna Park, 75.76

9 Hallee Ray, 75.65

10 Taryn Baker, 75.57

11 Kelly Lawson, 73.93

12 Elizabeth O’Connell, 71.98

13 Sophia Marseilles, 69.66

14 Alex Jenson, 69.42

15 Ali Kariotis, 69.11

16 Morgan Shaver, 68.58

U.S. Freestyle Championships — Friday schedule

■ Men’s mogul qualifications inspection, 8:45 to 9 a.m.

■ Men’s mogul qualifications training, 9:10 to 10 a.m.

■ Men’s mogul qualifications, 10:15 to 11:50 a.m.

■ Women’s mogul finalist inspection, 11:50 a.m. to noon

■ Women’s and men’s mogul finalist training, 12:05 to 12:45 p.m.

■ Women’s mogul finals, 1 to 1:30 p.m.

■ Men’s mogul finals, 1:30 to 2 p.m.

■ Mogul awards, 4 p.m., Gondola Square

The stakes are high this weekend as the 2015 U.S. Freestyle Ski Championships got underway on Steamboat Ski Area’s Voodoo course, but some skiers, like Schwartz, are being pretty straightforward in their approach, regardless of the stage.

“My theory is if I ski the best run, I’ll get the best score and not worry about other uncontrollables,” she said.

Schwartz and most of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club-trained contingent got off on the right foot in Thursday’s women’s moguls qualifier as nearly 70 women descended upon the firm, challenging course for the sunbaked trial runs.

Twenty-nine-year-old Hannah Kearney led off with the day’s best single-qualifier run with a score of 87.02.

Park City’s Nessa Dziemian was on Kearney’s heels with a score of 85.95 for the second-best run of the day. Summit’s Mikaela Matthews was next (84.13), followed by U.S. Ski Team’s KC Oakley (83.51) and Telluride’s Keaton McCargo.

Schwartz punched her bid to ski in Friday’s women’s moguls finals by finishing sixth in Thursday’s qualifier, throwing down a one-run score of 81.68. Fellow Steamboat Winter Sports Club-trained freestyler Lane Stolzner wasn’t far behind in seventh (80.60).

Still, even with Friday’s round of 16 now a certainty, Winter Sports Club Freestyle Director Bobby Aldighieri said there’s plenty to work on between now and when the finals launch at 1 p.m.

“I thought today went pretty well.” Aldighieri said. “Sophia did a good job. She’s had five weeks of solid training and that certainly helps her. Lane probably struggled a little bit with her 360 up top of the run, and as a result, the exit wasn’t her best stuff, and she’s pretty aware of that.”

Part of the U.S. Championships involves celebrating prolific careers just as others are breaking ground. While Kearney, an Olympic gold medalist, enjoys her sendoff, youngsters like 17-year-old Vail product Anna Park are beginning to emerge. Park took the Junior National Championship just a week ago and finished eighth in Thursday’s trials.

“Nationals is the coolest event because you get the whole freestyle moguls community in one place,” Schwartz said. “You have your top-tiers like Hannah Kearney against girls who are competing in their first nationals.”

While the women took center stage Thursday, Friday will be packed with both the women’s finals and the men’s moguls training, trials and finals, too. The men’s qualifications begin at 10:15 a.m. Friday, with the 16-skier women’s finals starting at 1 p.m. The men’s finals are immediately after at 1:30 p.m., and awards for both divisions are at 4 p.m. in Gondola Square.

Ryan Dyer headlines the list of men’s local freestylers, where a solid day can spell a medal finish, Aldighieri said.

“RD’s kind of our guy who can really do the job,” he said. “He’s just got to go out there and ski his best. It sounds like a stock answer, but if he skies his very best, he can be on the podium, I certainly believe that. That’s what the goal is.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll


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