Submitted by Katie DiDonato
Several athletes from Holiday Valley and Holimont earned an invitation to compete in the 2016 U.S. Freestyle Championship March 16-20 in Steamboat, CO, against the current US Ski Team members as well as other elite competitors from all over the country.
Invited to participate in to this final competition of the season were the top 74 men and the top 61 women in the entire U.S. This competition allows the US Ski Team members to solidify their spot on the US Mogul Team “A” and “B” teams. This alone adds high stakes for the US team members. This competition also allows those who are not on the team to show that they are ready to be moved on to this elite team.
Submitted by Sean Crotty
US Junior Nationals
Seven FLITE Team Athletes Qualified for US Junior Nationals held in Sun Valley Idaho over March 7th-13th. In Big Air: Alliy Hansen and Evan Dermott. Aerials: Evan Dermott and Michael Kennedy Moguls: Elissa Cole, Lexi Crotty, Marissa Vasatka and Bubba Antkiewicz. (Alliy Hansen did not compete) Elissa Cole and Bubba Antkiewicz also qualified for Dual Moguls.
This competition field consisted of the Top Athletes in their respective discipline from across the US, under the age of 18.
The Aerial and Mogul venues were side by side on Roundhouse, which saw its share of great athletes over the course of the week. A field of 76 Male, and 64 Female athletes competed in Moguls, and 44 Males and 20 Females in Aerials in variable weather conditions. These athletes trained in fog, snow, rain, sleet, ice pellets and blowing winds. Most afternoons were greeted with brilliant blue skies and sun, to which Sun Valley gets it’s name from.
Men’s Moguls was held on Thursday, March 10- where Bubba Antkiewicz qualified for finals finishing in the top 20 in qualifiers. Bubba ended the day 16th in his first Junior Nationals appearance.
Ladies moguls saw all 3 FLITE Team Female advance to finals after skiing some great qualifying runs. Marissa Vasatka lead the ladies of FLITE in 9th overall, 3rd in her age; followed by Lexi Crotty in 13th and Elissa Cole in 19th. This is their 2nd Junior Nationals appearance, improving from their results in 2015 handily.
In aerials, first time Junior National competitors Evan Dermott and Michael Kennedy both finished the day 4th in their age, Evan 10th Overall, and Michael 12th.
Evan ended his Junior National experience with a 3rd Place in his age in Big Air; overall
Elissa Cole and Bubba Antkiewicz had a final performance in Dual Moguls. Elissa Cole advanced through the round of 64, through 32 and lost in the round of 16. The skier who beat Elissa went on to win the Dual Moguls Competition. Bubba was successful in his first dual in the round of 64, however, lost his 2nd dual in the round of 32.
Three FLITE Team Athletes Qualified for US Nationals held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado from March 15-20th. Bubba Antkiewicz, Elissa Cole and Lexi Crotty competed in their 1st US Nationals in Single and Dual Moguls. The competition field consisted of athletes from the US Ski Team, as well as some of the elite athletes from their regions. Each athlete gets scored by a panel of judges who rate the athlete’s performance in Turns and Lines, Tricks on 2 jumps, as well as speed.
Nationals at Steamboat Springs Started with Men’s Moguls Qualifiers on Thursday, March 17th, where a field of 74 male athletes made their way down Voodoo to compete for the top spot on the podium. From that field, the Top 16 advanced to the Finals. FLITE Team’s Bubba Antkiewicz had a great run that landed him in 31st place. Bubba came in ranked 54th in the US, improving on that ranking with his 31st place finish.
Friday saw the Ladies take their turn at conquering Voodoo, as their field of 61 put their best ski forward until the Top 16 advanced to Finals. FLITE Team’s Lexi Crotty finished 33rd and Elissa Cole 39th. Elissa and Lexi came in as the 59th and 60th qualifiers respectively; each made their way to a much better seating with Lexi improving 27 spots; and Elissa 20.
Sunday March 20th saw the exciting action of Dual Moguls hitting Voodoo. The same field of athletes hit the course skiing head to head to very exciting finishes. The first dual in the round of 64 athletes saw Lexi Crotty (60th) against a 30th ranked skier from Vail. A very exciting finish, where Crotty’s opponent crashed and crossed into her line; nearly crashing into her, saw Lexi advance to the round of 32 skiers.
Elissa (59th) competed against the 19th ranked skier from Vail, put up a great dual, but in the end fell short to advance.
Bubba Antkiewicz ran into a mogul upon landing his top air in his dual matchup; and that ended his dual in his Nationals Dual Debut.
Other season highlights:
Eastern Freestyle ECS Champs
On February 13-14 The Mogul A Team went to Sugarloaf Maine for Eastern Freestyle ECS A Champs. FLITE Team Members Bubba Antkiewicz, Elissa Cole, Lexi Crotty, Lucas Goodin, Parker Johnston and Marissa Vasatka competed in the bitter cold mountain at Sugarloaf Maine.
Singles moguls made for an extremely cold day, where temps were consistently below zero and wind chills well into the negative teens. For Females, Elissa Cole lead the charge, finishing in 3rd Place, followed by Lexi Crotty in 8th and Marissa Vasatka in 14th. The Males were lead by Parker Johnston in 17th, followed by Lucas Goodin in 31st and Bubba Antkiewicz in 46th.
Duals was postponed to the following week in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire due to the extreme cold on Sunday morning. None of the athletes made the trip back to NH, instead they stayed back to support their fellow B Skiers in NY/PA Champs.
Eastern Freestyle EQS NY/PA Champs
On the weekend of February 20-21, HoliMont hosted the NY/PA Championship. This Eastern Freestyle Championship Event featured the Top B Skiers from New York and Pennsylvania in Aerials, Moguls and Slopestyle.
The following FLITE Team athletes qualified for NY/PA Championships:
Ladies; Annie Dietrich, Sasha MacGregor, Lucy DiFrancesco, Sydney Kelsch, Abigail Hayes-Vickers, Caitlin Woodrow, Genevieve Downing, Maeve Margerum, and Males; Cameron Evans, RJ Cancilla, Michael Kennedy, Brandon Crotty, Matthew Cancilla, Colin Woodrow, Julian Robertson, Vincent DiFrancesco, Ryan McQuilkin, and Carter Johnston.
Ladies; Alliy Hansen, Caitlin Woodrow and Males; Evan Dermott, Michael Kennedy, Brandon Crotty, and Colin Woodrow.
Ladies; Alliy Hansen, Sasha MacGregor and Males; Evan Dermott, Mitchell Wayland, Michael Kennedy, Travis Goodin, Brandon Crotty, and Aaron Levy.
On Saturday, the Aerial and Slopestyle event was held on “The Jump”.
In Slopestyle, FLITE Team owned the Top of the podium for both Males and Females with Alliy Hansen and Evan Dermott taking top spots. Sasha MacGregor had a great day in the park, finishing 6th overall; 2nd in her age.
Over in the Males, FLITE Team took 2/3 of the Podium with Dermott taking 1st, and Aaron Levy taking 3rd Place in his first season competing. Following up the podium was Brandon Crotty in 7th Overall; 3rd in his age, and Mitchell Wayland in 18th overall; 5th in his age.
On Sunday, we moved over to “Downspout” for Moguls.
Annie Dietrich led the FLITE Team Ladies with a 3rd Place Overall finish; 2nd in her age, followed by Sasha MacGregor in 13th; 5th in her age, Lucy DiFrancesco 21st; 7th in Age; Sydney Kelsch 25th; 9th in age; Maeve Margerum 31st; 10th in age, Caitlin Woodrow 32nd; 1st in age, and Abigail Hayes-Vickers 33rd; 2nd in age
RJ Cancilla led the males with a 5th place overall finish; 2nd in his age, followed by Cameron Evans in 6th place, 3rd in his age. Matthew Cancilla finished 19th; 6th in age, followed by Brandon Crotty in 21st; 7th in age, Julian Robertson 28th; 8th in age, Vincent DiFrancesco 35th; 2nd in age, Colin Woodrow 36th; 11th in age, and Ryan McQuilkin 38th; 13thin age.
Eastern Freestyle EQS- Eastern Champs
Many FLITE Team athletes qualified for Eastern Freestyle EQS Young Gun and Junior Championships in Killington, Vermont from March 11-13th.
Mogul Skiers: Annie Dietrich, ; and Males Cameron Evans, RJ Cancilla
Aerial Skiers: Females, ; and Males, Evan Dermott, Brandon Crotty
Slopestyle Skiers: Females, Alliy Hansen, and Males; Evan Dermott, Brandon Crotty
Only mogul skiers Annie Dietrich, Cameron Evans and RJ Cancilla made the trip to Killington, Vermont. In Competition on Highline, Cameron Evans led the FLITE Team charge with a 2nd Place finish, while Annie Dietrich cruised to a 17th Place Finish, and RJ Cancilla finished in 18th.