Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes top the standings at Rocky Mountain freestyle mogul competition
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club competitors stood out on the first day of the Rocky Mountain Division Competition on Voodoo at Steamboat Resort.
In the first Rocky Mountain freestyle mogul competition of the year, Steamboat Springs athletes collected top finishes in both the men’s and women’s competitions.
1. So Matsuda, Winter Park Ski Club
2. Landon Wendler, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
3. William Feneley, Australia
4. Tanner Murphy, Winter Park
5. Wyatt Antkiewicz, SSWSC
11. Spencer Belsky, SSWSC
1. Kenzie Radway, SSWSC
2. Maggie Ryan, SSWSC
3. Tori Ware, Team Summit
4. Tegan Large, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail
5. Elizabeth Lemely, Vail
11. Riley Hodges, SSWSC
Landon Wendler knew his second run would put him in contention when he crossed the finish. He threw his fist up in celebration, coming from the 19th position after his first run to take second overall as the top men’s finisher from Steamboat Springs. Vail’s So Matsuda came in first.
“Today was definitely the turns and the bottom air,” Wendler said. “My second run, I didn’t hit the bottom air as well as I wanted to. I definitely cleaned up my skiing and my top air.”
Wyatt Antkiewicz, in third position after his first run, took an unexpected plunge at the top of the slope but still finished in fifth place. Spencer Belsky came in 11th out of the 73 competitors.
“I really wish I could’ve done better,” Antkiewicz said. “I went in a little back seat up top there, so it was really hard for me to get back on top.”
In the back seat position, a skier’s hips are behind their feet. The off-balance position is one of the leading causes of falling on the slopes. Winter Park’s Tanner Murphy, who sat in second after the first run, also lost his balance on the moguls and finished in fourth place.
Belsky held a top-10 position after his first run, but he didn’t execute his landing as well as he had hoped on his second to keep him in contention.
“I was completing a new trick,” Belsky said. “It was OK, wasn’t as well as I wanted to be, but I still landed and had a really good rest of the run.”
Belsky’s new backflip 360, which consists of one rotation and a back flip, has been a goal of his for the season. He finds his forks, where skis cross each other in air, to be his strong suit.
Nailing new tricks are part of the goal for this year’s freestyle mogul season, where Steamboat Springs athletes hope to contend in the finals or super-finals of Junior World Championships while also being consistent finalists on the NorAm tour.
Nailing new tricks is something that’s built through a summer on the water ramps and trampolines before taking them to the snow. Kenzie Radway said that the key to trying a new trick for the first time is to lie to the butterflies in your stomach, going in with utmost confidence.
Competitors before Radway were dropping like flies, and as she stood at the top of the slope, she didn’t pay attention.
“If you look at another person who crashed, you’re going to crash too,” Radway said. “We’ve been there too. We’ve all had them, It’s that sense of getting back up and getting back to it.”
Radway and Maggie Ryan grabbed a 1-2 finish in Saturday’s competition. Radway held the top spot after the first run and kept it consistent through the second.
“My strongest point is my speed,” Radway said. “And so, I really used that to my advantage today.”
Ryan returns from a torn meniscus injury. The first competition was a way for her to get back up. Her confidence built on her second run.
“I just felt more aggressive,” Ryan said. “And went big on my airs and had some changes that my coaches asked for.”
Steamboat Springs’ Riley Hodges capped it off with an 11th-place performance.
“My jumps were a struggle today,” Hodges said. “But my skiing has really improved by far. I’m starting off this season far better than last year.”
While the women have new tricks they hope to execute later in the season, like a 360 spin or a backflip layout, today was a strong first step towards being strong contenders in the NorAm cup and Junior Worlds.
“It’s pretty much impossible to have the perfect run,” Ryan said. “You always have to go back and change something.”
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