Waterville Valley, NH, Mar. 16, 2001--Hannah Hardaway (Moultonborough, N.H) ignored growing back pains and Ryan Riley (Steamboat Springs, CO) paid attention to what he'd been telling himself as each won the gold medal in mogul Friday on the first day of the sun-splashed Chevy Truck U.S. Freestyle Championships at Waterville Valley resort.
ESPN will broadcast coverage March 31 at 5:30 p.m. EST.
Riley wowed the judges with a helicopter maneuver off the bottom jump that included two spreads (legs kickingsideways). He finished with 28.55 points to overtake Toby Dawson (Vail, CO), who won the final World Cup moguls eventSunday in Finland; Dawson had 27.78 and Jeremy Bloom (Loveland CO) was third with 27.68. Defending champion EvanDybvig (Tunbridge, VT) led the qualifying round but had problems with his second jump and finished fourth.
"I did a one-eighty 180-degree spin-spread, one-eighty-spread. We call it a 'Bronco'...so I guess I did a double-Bronco,"Riley said, referring to his extra spread trick. He's done it a few times but it's not part of his regular repertoire, he added,explaining, "The jump has to be pretty big because otherwise it looks cheesy - you can't pull it off unless you're prettyhigh...
Riley Looking for "something special..."
"I was trying to accomplish something special or learn a valuable lesson; I did both."
His jump was special and the lesson learned, Riley said, "was how to put all the elements together in one run." Sometimeshe just skis "on instinct," he said, and at other times he takes copious notes on multiple pieces of paper. He has learned toconsolidate all the notes on one piece of paper "and to believe that paper...to believe myself."
The WV course has a couple of intricacies, including large jumps - "the one we have on the World Cup are smaller, butthese are like a loading dock; you get super jumps" - and bigger spaces between the moguls than they normally see on theWorld Cup, he said.
"It gave me problems for a day and a half, but Thursday afternoon I started to figure some of it out."
Dawson said he had a little bit of a problem with his turns "but Ryan deserved it. He skied so well. I got the jumps Iwanted but my turns weren't where I wanted 'em...
"I nailed both airs, I'm happy about that but my turns were not as good as I wanted."
From "casual" to champion (again)
Hardaway, who lives about an hour from Waterville, won the morning run which cut the field of 36 women to 16 for finals.Then she successfully defended her moguls crown from a year ago with a run that earned 26.02. Second place went toDonna Weinbrecht (Killington, VT), the former Olympic, world and five-time World Cup champion, who scored 25.67, withJillian Vogtli (Ellicotville, NY) third at 25.35.
"My back's starting to feel a little sore," Hardaway said, referring to a compression she suffered during a World Cup eventin Japan last month. "But the second run the snow was softer, more forgiving, so that helped...
"My first run was kinda ho-hum, a little casual, so I tried to step it up for finals...tried to get psyched-up listening to mymusic, like dancing - I love dancing," she told reporters.
"I felt really good up-top and I tried to carry speed through the middle but my feet got out in front of me so I had to backoff a little before the second air, and then ski fast through the finish."
Weinbrecht, a seven-time U.S. champion who returned to World Cup skiing this season after two years away, was pleasedwith her silver medal. "This was an emotional year. It's nice to end on an up note," she said.
The championships continue Saturday with aerials followed by the final episode in Captain Morgan's Freestyle Adventure,a quarterpipe big air contest.
Chevy Truck U.S. Freertyle Championships
Waterville Valley, NH - March 16
1. Ryan Riley, Steamboat Spring, Colo., 28.55 points
2. Toby Dawson, Vail, Colo., 27.78
3. Jeremy Bloom, Loveland, Colo., 27.68
4. Evaan Dybvig, Tunbridge, Vt., 27.64
5. Travis Mayer, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 27.17
6. Mike Friedberg, Boulder, Colo., 26.91
7. Matthew Odlin, Bethel, Maine, 26.56
8. Chris Hernandez, South Lake Tahoe, Calif., 26.43
9. Jesse Kenison, Tahoe City, Calif., 26.37
10. Tony Basile, Olympic Valley, Calif., 26.16
Results Not Available