Deer Valley, Utah Jan. 1, 2002 (USSA)--Travis Mayer (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA) provided the surprises of the U.S. Ski Team Gold Cup on Monday when the young duo upset favored veteran Olympians to earn winner-take-all wild card U.S. Olympic team moguls team spots.
ABC will broadcast the men's moguls at 1 p.m. Sat., Jan. 5 (EST). ESPN will broadcast the women's moguls Sat., Jan. 12 at 4 p.m. (EST).
Mayer, a member of freestyle C Team and who will turn 20 during the Winter Olympics, had a score of 27.56 to claim the men's competition. Ryan Riley (Tabernash, CO) was second with 27.14 points and Alex Wilson (Breckenridge, CO) was third at 27.05 on the overcast day.
Bahrke Edges Battelle
Bahrke, who turned age 21 last month, surprisingly claimed the earlier women's competition, narrowly edging three-time U.S. Olympian Ann Battelle (Steamboat Springs, CO). Bahrke had a score of 25.38. Battelle, vying for her fourth U.S. Olympic team, had a score of 25.31, with Hannah Hardaway (Moultonborough, NH) third at 25.26. Donna Weinbrecht, 36, (Killington, VT), who is also attempting to make her fourth U.S. Olympic team, finished fourth at 24.33.
Mayer, the 2000 junior world dual moguls titlist, finished second in the U.S. Sprint Grand National World Cup on Dec. 14 in Steamboat Springs, Colo., as a coaches' discretionary selection.
Both Mayer and Bahrke earned $10,000 for their wins and will be competing in their first Winter OIympics.
"I was really confident coming in; I had two good weeks of training, but I didn't expect it," said Mayer, who emerged at the top of the strong U.S. men's contingent.
Mayer and Bahrke will both leave Tuesday to join the World Cup circuit in Europe.
"Travis has been on a roll lately, and he skied really well today," said head moguls coach Jeff Wintersteen. "It was a really tight day of competition today. The guys were really going for it and the competition was great."
Bahrke surprised herself with her winning effort, particuarly since she had been disappointed with her recent efforts. But she had a "feeling" something was going to happen.
"I felt awesome all week; I love this course," she said. "Either I was going to fall or do something great. I just had a feeling something was going to happen. It's not like I'm a spiritual, but it was weird. I just had this feeling. But I surprised myself. There are so many strong girls on the team. It hasn't sunk in yet; I'm just so excited."
Despite her strength in dual moguls, Wintersteen wasn't surprised with Bahrke's performance.
"It's just like last season; she started slow then has come on strong," said Wintersteen. "She's had two fourths in World Cups in Deer Valley, so, no, her win doesn't surprise me. She skied great."