Steamboat lands 3 women in top 5 | SteamboatToday.com
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Steamboat lands 3 women in top 5

Steamboat's Avital Shimko rips down the Voodoo run moguls course Friday at Steamboat Ski Area en route to a second-place finish in the U.S. Freestyle National Championships. It was Shimko's first podium in the event.
Joel Reichenberger

Women's results

1 Mogan Schild, 84.40

2 Avital Shimko, 80.52

3 Jaelin Kauf, 80.47

4 Tess Johnson, 79.75

5 Lane Stoltzner, 76.24

6 Heidi Kloser, 76.07

7 Elizabeth O’Connell, 75.22

8 Lulu Shaffer, 72.23

9 Hallee Ray, 71.34

10 Gabriella Fisher, 71.07

11 Katie Coyne, 70.87

12 Aurora Amundsen, 67.81

13 Madison Hogg, 66.67

14 Elissa Cole, 61.54

15 Hannah Miles, 54.88

16 KC Oakley, 46.44

— It was uncomfortable, Steamboat Springs moguls skier Avital Shimko said, but the best kind of uncomfortable.

Women’s results

1 Mogan Schild, 84.40

2 Avital Shimko, 80.52

3 Jaelin Kauf, 80.47

4 Tess Johnson, 79.75

5 Lane Stoltzner, 76.24

6 Heidi Kloser, 76.07

7 Elizabeth O’Connell, 75.22

8 Lulu Shaffer, 72.23

9 Hallee Ray, 71.34

10 Gabriella Fisher, 71.07

11 Katie Coyne, 70.87

12 Aurora Amundsen, 67.81

13 Madison Hogg, 66.67

14 Elissa Cole, 61.54

15 Hannah Miles, 54.88

16 KC Oakley, 46.44

Shimko pushed the speed through the middle section of moguls, right to the edge of too fast. She held on, however, then landed both of her tricks, rocketing her onto the podium Friday at the U.S. National Championships women’s moguls finals.

Shimko was second, leading the way for as strong day from Steamboat-trained women. Former teammate Jaelin Kauf, now working with the U.S. Ski Team, was third and Lane Stoltzner fifth.

“I had nothing to lose. I just put everything on the table,” Shimko said. “It felt great.”

No one on the women’s side could hang with Morgan Schild on Friday. She qualified a lackluster ninth Thursday, but was nearly perfect a day later, wowing the crowd with a cork 720 off the bottom air and clean, swift skiing top to bottom.

“That was a run that would have won a World Cup,” Steamboat freestyle director Bobby Aldighieri said. “That cork 7 was legit.”

It was the 19-year old New York skier’s first national championship podium, but certainly not her first brush with success. She has three World Cup podiums under her belt, including two wins.

Making the nationals podium was a first for Shimko, as well, and the key, she said, was two things.

She’s wrapping up the strongest season of her career, which included a third-place overall finish on the Nor-Am circuit, and she credits her air scores for that jump in competitiveness. She hit the water ramp at Bald Eagle Lake in Steamboat exactly 1,000 times last summer.

Then, she was fast Friday, extremely fast. She scorched the course in 26.60 seconds, the best time in the field.

“I felt a little out of control,” she said, “but in a good way.”

She even edged Kauf in speed, a rare accomplishment.

“She absolutely maxed it out,” Aldighieri said.

Kauf didn’t have a bad run, either; only her jumping score held her back. Her third-place finish was her best individual moguls result at a national championships and her first podium in the discipline. She was second a year ago in dual moguls.

“With two previous Steamboat teammates on the podium together, I was a little emotional,” said Kate Blamey, the Steamboat moguls coach who works with Shimko and Stoltzner now and worked with Kauf before she made the U.S. team.

“That’s a pretty special thing to share with each other, and they got to do it in Steamboat,” she said.

Stoltzner rebounded from a qualifying run that was good enough to get her into finals, but left her well back of the competitors. She qualified 12th, but laid down a clean run Friday and leapt up seven spots into fifth.

“I really, really liked her approach today,” Blamey said. “She came out positive, aggressive and ready to rock.”

U.S. Ski team member Tess Johnson was fourth, leaving Shimko and Stoltzner the two highest placers not currently on the team.

Skiers will have one more chance to make the podium as they compete Saturday in the final event of the season, a dual moguls competition on Voodoo run. The action is scheduled to start at 9:40 a.m. and should wrap up a little before 1 p.m.

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


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