Wasatch makes mark at Junior Worlds
The Wasatch Freestyle Team, which trains at Deer Valley and the Utah Olympic Park (UOP), spent the weekend putting Park City on world map.
Team member Jay Bowman-Kirigan of Salt Lake City won two medals at the Junior World Championships in Krasnoe Ozero, Russia. He took silver in dual moguls and bronze in moguls.
Wasatch Freestyle director and head coach Jon O’Brien said that Bowman- Kirigan’s win is significant for many reasons. First, it establishes the young moguls star as an up-and-comer on the national freestyle scene. O’Brien compared the win to Ted Ligety’s Junior Worlds win when he was in high school, which set him up for later success. Thus far, Bowman-Kirigan, 18, has been on the fast track to success. He won the moguls competition at the Junior Olympics last year, finished second in the 2005 National Championships behind Parkite Nate Roberts and was recently named Freestyle Developmental Skier of the Year by Ski Racing Magazine. O’Brien says that Bowman-Kirigan has met the criteria necessary to make the U.S. Ski Team and expects him to be named in the spring.
The success also shows that what O’Brien has accomplished on Deer Valley’s bumps is inline with the programs around the world.
"It’s an indicator that what we are teaching and our training methods are right on target," O’Brien said. "It shows we can be successful."
Wasatch Freestyle had another team member, Bryon Wilson, a Butte, Mont. transplant also living in Salt Lake, finish in fourth place. Fellow American skiers Caterina Mader (Steamboat Springs, Colo./Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club) also won bronze in moguls and Mckenzy Golding (Reno, Nev./Squaw Valley Freestyle Team) and Kayla Snyderman (Winchester, Mass./Waterville Valley BBTS) finished in the top five.
The Wasatch Freestyle Team starts out their season at Snowbird before moving to Deer Valley around December to give the athletes as much on-snow time as possible. O’Brien says that is this extra time as well as the world-class facilities the 2002 Olympic moguls course and the water ramp at the UOP that really give the young skiers an advantage.
"It’s because of this that we are able to produce athletes of World Cup caliber," O’Brien said.
He was also quick to praise the parents of his two athletes, who he says sacrificed to get the skiers over to Russia. The U.S. Ski Team covered the fees for a coach and accommodations, but the costly burden of sending the teens across the world was the parents’ responsibility.
"These families have been dedicated and we think that’s a worthy cause and the kids did well," O’Brien said.
Bowman-Kirigan will compete this week at the USSA Freestyle Junior National at Park City Mountain Resort.
Russians Andrey Volkov and Ekaterina Stolyarova took gold in moguls. Bowman-Kirigan and collected bronze in their respective contests. Volkov and Alizee Boulangeat of France won gold in the dual moguls event.
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