Take Four Gold Medals, Two by Freestyler Keaton McCargo
Telluride freestyle skiers put the icing on the 2012-13 season cake last week, with three local athletes climbing onto national and international podiums in what was deemed the “sickest” day of competition in Telluride freestyle skiing history.
After taking the gold in the single moguls event at the Junior World Championships in Valmalenco, Italy last Wednesday, Telluride native Keaton McCargo kept her momentum rolling at a feverish pace into Saturday’s Dual Moguls event. There, McCargo again claimed gold, throwing a 360 and back layout for her aerial tricks while revealing her best-in-the-business turns (which she honed growing up on the slopes of Telluride and training under ex-U.S. Ski Team members Caleb Martin and Harold Ehnbom.)
Her Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club freestyle teammate teammate Thomas Rowley also found his place in the international spotlight last weekend, taking gold in the Dual Moguls competition on Saturday. The Junior Worlds event showcases the sport’s highest-ranked young competitors from around the globe, and according to TSSC freestyle team director and head coach Caleb Martin, McCargo and Rowley’s victories there establish them as two of the sport’s preeminent competitors.
“The biggest thing is that they were competing against an awesome international field, and they were the best,” Martin said of McCargo and Rowley, who traveled to Italy with TSSC coach Kris Pepe.
The victories capped a winning season for the two Telluride skiers, whose points accumulations earlier in the season helped them win invitations to the elite Junior World contest. Martin says that thanks to their strong results this winter, both athletes stand a chance of being selected for the 2013-14 U.S. Ski Team; the official announcement of which new skiers will join the country’s best competitive team will not be made, however, for at least another week.
Back on American soil, U.S. Ski Team member and TSSC-trained Ridgway resident Joe Discoe won his third U.S. title Saturday in a hard-fought dual moguls competition at the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships at Heavenly Valley ski resort in California.
Discoe threw a D-spin in his top air and a backflip on his bottom air in the finals, and despite difficult springtime conditions maintained solid turn technique throughout.
“Pure strength was what got me through today. It wasn't very pretty skiing but I made it down just barely. There is some great competition here and to walk away with the win is something I'm definitely proud of. Yesterday I had a pretty rough day and I couldn't figure out how to get down this course so I'm just really happy today I was able to get it dialed in,” Discoe said in a U.S. Ski Team statement.
Other topnotch TSSC skiers at the season-culminating Nationals event included Kealey Zaumseil, edging her way into both events’ finals rounds and finishing the weekend with an 11th on singles day and creeping into the top ten at eighth overall in Duals on Saturday.
“It was great to see her getting aggressive and finishing the season strong,” said Martin, who accompanied Zaumseil and TSSC’s other invited skiers Troy Tully, Benni Solomon, Morgan Osborne and Clement Kabrol. Tully, who raked in a few NorAm Cup podiums this season, was just out of the top ten in singles coming in at 11th on Friday. Meanwhile Osborne’s best run of the weekend came on Saturday as he narrowly missed the Duals finals, landing just outside the qualification "bubble" in 17th in his second-ever Nationals event.
The team’s winningest weekend in Club history stands as a testament to the athletes who have put in the hard work to compete at these high levels, TSSC’s Martin attests. In fact, Telluride was voted USSA’s Freestyle Club of the Year, following its skiers’ 2012-13 competitive season fireworks.
“It’s the first time Telluride has even won this award, and it really stands as a tribute to all of our athletes and what they bring to the program,” Martin said.