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SquawFree skiers put on a show at Far West championships

Benjamin Nickel, right, and Julian Cayolle battle during dual moguls at Northstar California Resort.
Justin Scacco / jscacco@sierrasun.com

Skiers on the Far West Freestyle tour threw down last weekend at Northstar California Resort, vying for season titles at the two-day divisional championships.

Skiers from the Olympic Valley Freestyle and Freeride Team, also known as SquawFree, swept each of the six competitions. SquawFree’s Tristan Cayolle had a solid weekend with podium finishes in all three boys’ events, including capturing first place in Saturday’s moguls and Sunday’s dual moguls.

Another SquawFree skier, Benjamin Nickel, took the win the other moguls event, and finished as the runner-up in the other two competitions.

Cayolle’s younger brother, Julian, finished second in Sunday’s moguls event and was third in the other two competitions.

On the girls’ side, there was a different winner in each of the three events.

SquawFree’s Katie Fuller, 14, earned her first ever win at the divisional championships, capturing first place in Sunday morning’s moguls event.

“This is the first time I’ve placed first overall,” said Fuller, who has been skiing since she was a toddler.

She said one of the highlights of the weekend was landing a 360, but credited her speed and “having clean runs” for her results, which included a second place in dual moguls.

Another member of SquawFree, 13-year-old Alicia Buckmaster, took the dual moguls championship, outdueling Fuller in the finals.

“I kind of just straight-lined,” she said of the run, which included a backflip. “And I was just visualizing the run.”

Buckmaster also posted second- and third-place finishes in the moguls events.

Also claiming a first-place finish was Kaya Russell, who was victorious in Saturday’s moguls event. Ella English, of SquawFree, also landed on the podium with third places in both moguls competitions. Aisha Gupta was the final athlete to claim a podium finish, having gone up against her younger sister Annika to claim third place in dual moguls.

Athletes will next prepare for one of the biggest events of the season, the Junior Nationals, which runs March 11-15 at Winter Park in Colorado. Following Junior Nationals will be the U.S. Championships at Squaw Valley. The event, which will attract some of the top mogul skiers in the nation, will take place March 17-22.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.


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