Jeret Peterson, Kelly Hilliman take national aerial titles at Heavenly{mosimage}USSA — Jeret Peterson nailed his second jump Saturday night to collect his first U.S. aerials championship at the Chevrolet U.S. Freestyle Championships at Heavenly in California. Earlier, Kelly Hilliman picked up the second title of her career.

Peterson had 222.05 points –including 124.60 on his second quad-twisting triple (four twists, three flips) — to top Joe Pack, who slapped back on his second landing and finished with 204.85. Wes Preston was third (193.47) under the lights.

“I’m really excited. I had a good time up there [tonight],” Peterson said; he had a full, double-full, full on his first jump and clicked with a double-full, full, full to seal the deal. “Everyone was jumping well so I’m pretty pumped to be able to put it down. … Pretty much, I planned to go out and have a good time and do what I know how to do. It was cool.”

He had trouble landing his first jump before clinching the win with his final jump. “I just pulled my feet through on the landing,” he said. “I’ve been having trouble with that all year. I’ve been doing really nice jumps and I’m just not landing them and if you’re not landing them you might as well not even show up.

In front of a cheering après ski crowd, Hilliman led the women’s field with 161.54 points. Rookie Sharlee Strebel and Australia’s Shannon Leotta, who trains in Utah, completed the podium.

“I’m really excited,” said Hilliman. “It was a really good day for me. I jumped really well for myself and that’s really the main thing, that’s what’s really important. To have another national title is a lot of fun too and awesome. I’m really happy.”

Hilliman, the 2000 U.S. aerials champion, had missed the last two national championships because of injury. She completed a full-full, a double twist-double flip, and a lay-full, a single twisting somersault, for her two jumps.

“I competed those for a while the last two years [on the World Cup circuit],” she said. “I had taken a step back after doing triples and now I’m going to step it back up and start doing triple twisting doubles. This season was lot of ups and downs, I tried to change a couple things. … In the long run I think it is going to pay off. I had a couple good results and some results that weren’t as good as I wanted to but all in all I ended on a great note so I’m really happy.”

Strebel had 136.02 points and Leotta, who trains with the Australian national squad at Utah Olympic Park on the outskirts of Park City, had 130.93. Defending champion Christina Craddock was fourth in the late-afternoon women’s competition.

The championships conclude Sunday with dual moguls.

U.S. Freestyle Championships
Heavenly Mountain Resort, California
March 26, 2004
Men’s Aerials

1. Jeret Peterson, Boise, Idaho, 222.05 points
2. Joe Pack, Park City, Utah, 204.85
3. Wes Preston, Campton, N.H., 193.47
4. Lance Field, Boulder, Colo., 177.08
5. Bryan McCormack, Cape May Court House, N.J., 170.53
6. Scott Bahrke, Tahoe City, Calif., 156.13
7. Tim Massucco, Lee, Mass., 149.57
8. Dylan Ferguson, Amesbury, Mass., 145.26
9. Sean Field, Tahoe City, Calif., 136.97
10. Ricky Doyle, Lafayette, Calif., 126.98

1. Kelly Hilliman, Tonawanda, N.Y., 161.54
2. Sharlee Strebel, Layton, Utah, 136.02
3. Shannon Leotta, Australia, 130.93
4. Christina Craddock, West Newton, Mass., 129.12
5. Jaime Myers, Boise, Idaho, 125.08
6. Rachel Pack, Park City, Utah, 110.92
7. Chloe Dauwalder, 110.11
8. Jill Priest, Park City, Utah, 109.29
9. Sarah Goldman, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., 106.35
10. Katerina Mader, 95.48

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