Zemba Takes Junior Worlds dual moguls Gold
JYVASKYLA, Finland (March 20) – The USA's Bryan Zemba (Bridgewater Corners, VT) won Freestyle Junior World Championship gold Sunday in a dual moguls contest. Russia's Marika Pertachiya earned her second Junior World Championship medal adding dual moguls gold to her collection.
With perfect spring-like skiing conditions, warm sunny weather and soft snow, a field masked with five o'clock goggle tan line shadows took to the course in Falun Sunday for head-to-head dual moguls action. Coming out strong was the USA, who qualified five athletes into the finals.
After qualifying eighth and ninth, the bracket was unfavorable for the two American men, Killington Mountain School's Zemba and Nicholas Keating (Waterbury, VT) as they were paired to dual in the first round. Keating ended the event in 13th.
"It was tough going against your teammate and person from your own country," said Zemba, who edged out Keating 18-17 advancing to the quarterfinals. "So that kind of stunk. But that worked out in my favor."
Zemba then faced Saturday's moguls silver medalist Benjamin Cavet of Great Britain. Not fazed by the hardware already under Cavet's belt, Zemba moved into the semifinals. Continuing to show his competitive drive, he passed eventual bronze medalist Jens Laurtiz of Sweden 19-16 to meet Finland's Justin Penttala in the finals.
"You can't really focus on the result," explained Zemba. "But you always try and ski your best. You focus on that."
And ski his best is what Zemba did. In a photo finish, Zemba and Penttala crossed the line with the fate of the gold medal and some serious bragging rights in the hands of the judges. Knowing he had a strong run, Zemba waited anxiously to see the outcome. One point determined the Junior Worlds dual moguls champion as Zemba claimed the crown 18-17.
"Another stepping stone in my career is starting to take off," said Zemba, an elated newly crowned Junior World champion. "It's a just a huge sigh of relief. I've been going on the NorAm tour and even the regional circuit as a top competitor."
In the women's contest, Pertachiya landed Junior Worlds dual moguls gold, while Norway's Emilie Noel Amundsen took silver. Finland's own Isabella Cedercreutz rounded out the podium with bronze.
The USA had three women advance to finals with Olympic Valley Freeride and Freestyle Club's Ali Kartiotis (Novato, CA), who finished fourth in Saturday's moguls contest, leading the way in eighth. Kariotis advanced to the quarterfinals, where she crossed paths with eventual winner Pertachiya. Winter Park Competition Center's Alyssa Lawson (Boulder, CO) qualified third, but was bumped in the early round finishing 10th.
The U.S. Junior Worlds Team put forth a solid effort both Saturday and Sunday, ranking third in the Nation's Cup standing to end the two-day event. Finland won gold, while Russia took silver.
FIS Junior World Freestyle Ski Championships
Jyvaskyla, Finland – March 20, 2011
Gold: Bryan Zemba, Bridgewater Corners, VT (Killington Mountain School)
Silver: Justin Penttala, Finland
Bronze: Jens Lauritz, Sweden
13. Nicholas Keating, Waterbury, VT (Killington Mountain School)
Did not qualify for finals
26. Ryan Dyer, Steamboat Springs, CO (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club) 20.11
Gold: Marika Pertachiya, Russia
Silver: Emilie Noel Amundsen, Norway
Bronze: Isabella Cedercreutz, Finland
8. Ali Kariotis, Novato, CA (Olympic Valley Freeride and Freestyle Team) – 9
10. Alyssa Lawson, Boulder, CO (Winter Park Competition Center) - 3
15. Aspen Witt, Saratoga Springs, NY (Stratton Mountain School)
Did not qualify for finals
19. Alison DiGravio, Farmington, ME (Carrabassett Valley Academy)