Author of Story: Elizabeth Karam / USSA.ORG – Photo: Tom Kelly
Plenty of hardware will be heading to the east coast’s Stratton Mountain March 24-27 for the 2011 Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships. Headlining the decorated national team participants will be Olympic gold medalist Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT) who recently clinched both the World Cup Overall and Moguls titles.
“U.S. Champion is a meaningful title. Earning it would definitely be the icing on the delicious cake that has been my season,” said Kearney. “Actually, I don’t love icing, so a national title would be the chocolate drizzled on top of my ice cream cake.”
“My focus for this season has been consistency and U.S. Championships are another and final opportunity to compete this year,” said Kearney, who will be heading back to her home state for the Championships. “I experienced success the last time that the U.S. Championships were in Vermont (Killington in 2006), so I am looking to ski well and make my state proud. I will try to make sure that my teammates leave with a favorable impression of my home state of Vermont.”
The four day Championship event will showcase freestyle and freeskiing events – aerials, moguls, halfpipe skiing and dual moguls – opening the series with the men’s and women’s aerials contest Thursday, March 24. After a five year break, the Championship series returns to the east coast with many of its defending champions hailing from the eastern states.
In the ever progressing freeskiing sport of halfpipe, Jen Hudak (Salt Lake City) and Tucker Perkins (North Hampton, NH) are defending champions. David Wise (Reno, NV) looks to regain the top spot once again having won two consecutive years in 2008 and 2009.
Looking to defend the aerials title is Emily Cook (Belmont, MA), coming off a World Cup win in Moscow. On the men’s side the aerials title is up for grabs with defending champ Matt DePeters (Hamburg, NY) out for the remainder of the season due to injury.
The 2010 moguls champs Kearney and Joe Discoe (Telluride, CO) are looking to capture another title. In dual moguls it will be Jeremy Cota (Carrabassett Valley, ME) looking to make it two in-a-row, while a new women’s champ will be crowned as recently retired U.S. Ski Team alum Shelly Robertson (Reno, NV) hands over the reins.
2011 Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships Schedule
Stratton Mountain, VT
Thursday, March 24 – Men’s and women’s aerials
Friday, March 25 – Men’s and women’s moguls
Saturday, March 26 – Men’s and women’s halfpipe
Sunday, March 27 – Men’s and women’s dual moguls