New class of freestyle athletes on the rise

Bo Randolph and Abe Maynard represent a new class of aspiring Steamboat Springs freestyle skiers who proved they were ready to ski with the big boys last weekend at a USSA divisional meet in Winter Park.

Randolph skied through the brackets in Sunday's dual mogul event before running into Winter Park's Tyler Robertson in the finals. Robertson came away with the win, but Randolph's finish was another reminder that the next class of freestyle skiing stars has arrived in the Rocky Mountain Division.

This season, Steamboat skiers including Randolph, Maynard, Luke Kamieniecki, Sam Tarrant and Brett Lee have been steadily improving and moving up in the results.

Maynard is having the best year of his young career and continued to post top results last weekend in Winter Park.

He finished fifth in the single mogul event Saturday and then backed it up with a fourth-place finish in the dual mogul event Sunday.

"Abe, Bo, Sam and Luke have really stepped it up this season," coach Nate Bird said. "I've coached these kids since they were small, and it's great to see them reaching these new levels."

University of Colorado's Kevin Hanian threw down a blistering second run to win the singles. He was followed by Robertson in second and teammates David Degol in third and Donald Montigny in fourth.

Randolph finished seventh, Sam Tarrant finished 11th, Michael Mead finished 16th, and Brett Lee finished 26th.

Top Steamboat finishers on the girls side of Saturday's single moguls included Carly Gmeiner in ninth, Alyssa Roche in 13th, Jessica Mader in 16th and Sierra Weir in 21st. Summit County's Jordan Poyfair won the event.

Roche turned in the top finish in Sunday's dual, placing fourth in an elite field. Summit's Kellie Slater defeated Kelsey Teran in the finals to win the event.

"There wasn't a NorAm event last weekend, so this was a very strong field," Bird said. "I'm proud of how our skiers performed, and I think they gained a lot of confidence."

The Steamboat skiers will regroup this week before heading to Vail for back-to-back halfpipe events Friday, open moguls Saturday and dual moguls Sunday.

Bird said he is hoping for more top results as the Steamboat team continues to work toward the Junior Olympic Championships, from March 14 to 18 in Park City, Utah, and the U.S. Nationals, which will take place from March 23 to 26 in Killington, Vt.

-- To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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