‘Great, awesome and fun’ reign on duals day | SteamboatToday.com

‘Great, awesome and fun’ reign on duals day

Joel Reichenberger

— Nessa Dziemian offered a disclaimer Sunday before she said anything else.

“Just so you know,” she said, “I say great, awesome and fun a lot.”

She went on to say more, but those three words — great, awesome and fun — did a pretty good job summing up her weekend and her day.

The Park City moguls skier capped the best skiing season of her career with perhaps the best day of it, winning Sunday in the U.S. Freestyle National Championships dual moguls competition at Steamboat Springs.

For her, good, awesome and fun seem appropriate.

“It feels amazing to win a national championship,” she said, subbing in a new word that also fit.

Dziemian picked her way through a tough bracket then beat U.S. team member K.C. Oakley in the final to claim the national championship.

It wasn’t just any win for the 21-year-old, either. The weekend’s moguls competitions were a pressure-packed affair for many skiers eager to take advantage of their final chance this season to add to their resumes.

U.S. Ski Team spots could have been on the line.

Thanks to Dziemian’s stunning season and her sparkling Sunday, she doesn’t have to sweat that. She won the Nor-Am Cup Grand Prix, and she won a national championship, either of which should have her on the squad when it’s announced later this spring.

On top of that, she was second in Friday’s individual moguls event.

“This puts me in great position for next year,” she said. “It was fun dualing all of, hopefully, my new teammates.”

Thomas Rowley, too, used Sunday’s duals championships to underscore what’s been a fantastic season.

He was in the top 10 in both individual and dual moguls at the World Championships earlier this season, then earned his first World Cup podium placing second in France at the last event of the season.

He backed that up in Steamboat, placing third in individual moguls Friday and roaring back to win Sunday’s duals event.

He drew Olympic medalist Bryon Wilson in the final but was able to cruise easily when Wilson lost control after landing his first jump.

“He’s beat me twice now, and I’m going to come back and kick his butt the next time we meet,” Wilson said, grinning. “Seriously though, he skis fast, and he goes big. He’s a great skier, and I’m happy for him.”

Joey Discoe edged out Tully to place third.

Steamboat skiers, meanwhile, couldn’t manage to make a good day great.

All four of the team’s primary entries put together solid runs through the dual moguls bracket.

Jeremy Cota seemed to be finished in the round of 32 when he lost control on a mogul and struggled just to stay upright. He recovered, however, and advanced as far as the round of eight before losing to Troy Tully.

Ryan Dyer skied well into the round of 16 then ran into Wilson, who was stampeding to the championship dual.

Both Lane Stoltzner and Sophia Schwartz lost out in the round of eight on the women’s side, but neither were disappointed.

“Every run I skied this weekend was the best run of my year, then the next run would be even better,” said Schwartz, who struggled for much of the season on the World Cup circuit. “It was nice to come back. I put in five weeks of really hard preparation, and it was fun to see that show in my skiing when it was 3-2-1 go time.”

She lost to Dziemian in a tight matchup.

A U.S. team spot is a factor for Schwartz, and it’s a consideration for Stoltzner, too. She won three duals Sunday before falling to eventual third-place finisher Mikaela Matthews.

“I got better throughout the day, and the last dual was super fun,” Stoltzner said. “I felt really good about the week. There was something on the line for me, so we will see how that comes out in the next few days.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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