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Montana skier dominates U.S. Freestyle mogul championships at Waterville Valley

Union Leader Correspondent

March 25. 2018 4:31AM
Bradley Wilson flies through the air Friday on his way to winning the men's individual moguls title at the 2018 U.S. Freestyle Championships at Waterville Valley. (John Koziol/Sunday News Correspondent)

WATERVILLE VALLEY - After a 17-year hiatus, the birthplace of freestyle skiing has again hosted a U.S. freestyle championship, with Bradley Wilson capturing both the men's individual and dual moguls crowns.

A 25-year old resident of Butte, Mont., Wilson won the gold Friday in the former and returned 24 hours later to do the same in the latter on the 228-meter-long course on Lower Bobby's Run.

"It was a lot harder today" to win in the duals, said Wilson, after defeating Dylan Walcyzk, 24, of Rochester, N.Y., in the finals, "because the course froze overnight." Luckily, he added, it thawed just enough and at the right time, too.

On Friday, Wilson, who was joined then on the podium by Walczyk who finished third, and Jesse Andringa, 20, of Vail, Colo., who was second, said the conditions were optimal.

"It was awesome. We had the sunshine, soft bumps and good vibes. It was the East Coast. We love it."

On Saturday, the sun hid until the nearly the end of the competition, but the good vibes remained, said Matt Gnoza, the head coach of the U.S. Mogul Team.

"It's great to be here in New Hampshire. It's an absolutely outstanding, world-class course here at Waterville Valley and one of the best courses we've competed on" during the entire season, said Gnoza, who hails from Killington, Vt.

The skiers were able to "push," he said, in both the jumps and turns and the results were very encouraging for the future of the U.S. Mogul Team as it looks toward to the 2020 Beijing Olympics.

Echoing his coach, Wilson said he was impressed by the youngsters nipping at his heels.

"I'm super stoked with the talent of the young up-and-coming skiers," said Wilson, who finished 18th at the Pyeongchang Olympics and is the brother of 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Bryon Wilson.

Asked whether he has another Olympics in him, Wilson replied "I think so."

No New Hampshire skiers made podiums during the two-day competition. The closest to a Granite State medalist was Troy Murphy, who is originally from Bethel, Maine, but now lives in Park City, Utah, and who placed third in the men's dual moguls.

Keaton McCargo, 22, of Park City, Utah, won the women's individual moguis; while Avital Shimko, 21, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., was second; and Olivia Giaccio, 17, also of Steamboat Springs, third.

In the women's dual moguls, Tess Johnson, 17, of Vail, Colo., was first; followed by Jaelin Kauf, 21, of Alta, Wyo.; and McCargo.

Gnoza said he is thrilled that the U.S. Freestyle mogul championship will return to Waterville Valley in 2019 as part of a two-year agreement with the resort; the aerial competition, as in 2018, will be contested at another venue.

Nick Preston, who is a freestyle legend in Waterville Valley and the former coach of Hannah Kearney, who won gold at the 2010 Olympics, said the resort is a welcoming place for freestylers and is glad that it got such a good reception from both coaches and skiers.

General News Skiing Waterville Valley