Local freestylers off to Jr. Olympics in Utah | SierraSun.com

Local freestylers off to Jr. Olympics in Utah

Meg KiihnSpecial to the Sun
Photo by John StanleySean Collin, 18, reaches for a grab after launching off a jump in the big air competition March 6 at Sugar Bowl.
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More than three dozen athletes from across the Farwest division will compete in the Freestyle Junior Olympics this week in Park City, Utah. A record-setting number of athletes will compete in moguls, dual moguls, halfpipe, big air, and aerials. Farwest division has been one of the top athlete producing divisions in the USSA freestyle program. Olympic medalist Johnny Moseley and Shannon Bahrke both came up through the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows respective freestyle programs. The vast pool of talent Farwest has sent to Junior Olympics this year is a strong indicator that more athletes from the division will be on the U.S. Team soon.Alpine Meadows freestyle team qualified 20 athletes, the majority of whom are under 15 and the strongest contingent of halfpipe competitors. Athletes to watch include 12-year old all around skier Andre Simonpietri and 14-year old David Wise, who is expected to place very well in the halfpipe after winning the Division Championships at Sugarbowl two weeks ago. On the ladies side, K.C. Oakley jumped back into the season in February after a horrendous wrist injury to be the only athlete to qualify in all five disciplines. Squaw Valley, as always, is sending their fleet of mogulers, with 15 athletes qualified and a few in the wings hoping to compete in Park City. Among the men, expect Jordan Basile, Cooper Golding, Kyle Jordan, and Randy Davis to grace to podium in moguls or duals. Squaw is also known for their masses of J5 (10 & younger) athletes, including head coach Jarrod Semmens own son. Expect loud cheers from these youngsters.Five athletes from Heavenly and one from the new Sugarbowl team qualified. Powerhouses Jimmy Roberts and Luke Palmieri should also do well in their respective divisions. The event starts with the halfpipe competition on Thursday, where nearly 40 percent of the competitors are from Farwest. Moguls and Aerials will be on Friday. Big Air is on Saturday and the final action packed duals competition will be on Sunday, March 19th. Results should be posted on http://www.ussa.org.