Lake Placid: Roark wins moguls again, Dawson third{mosimage}LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – Michelle Roark of Denver, Colorado, liberated by her victory at Deer Valley a week earlier, won her second consecutive World Cup moguls event Friday at Whiteface, while Toby Dawson was third in the men’s contest in light rain at the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup, the final weekend of Olympic qualifying.

OLN will broadcast coverage from Lake Placid Sunday at 5 p.m. ET as part of its ongoing “10 Weeks to Torino” coverage of major pre-Olympic events in this country.

Roark had 25.99 points at Whiteface to edge Canadian Stephanie St. Pierre by more than a point and a half with Olympic champion Kari Traa of Norway third at 24.33. Shannon Bahrke was fifth as she posted her third top five of the season.

Dale Begg-Smith of Australia, fifth in qualifying, tore through the second run to win with 26.71 points with Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau second. Dawson, who also won at Deer Valley, finished third with 25.89 with Travis Cabral fourth and rookie David DiGravio sixth.

‘It was pretty sweet. I hope I can continue to build’ said Roark. ‘There were a lot of things in that run I know I can build on, and I hope to keep building and keep improving and getting better with every competition.’

Her jumps were a back lay off the top jump and a Bronco, a 360-degree rotation with a spread – kicking her skis out – while facing back up the hill off the bottom jump.

‘Today was a lot better than [Thursday]. It got almost slushy but then, combined with some slick spot, you really had to be on your skis and over them the whole time or they could shoot out ahead of you.’

Dawson, clicking with his 720-mute grab (two rotations while holding a ski) up top and his cork-720 (off-axis, double spin) at the bottom of the run, said he was pleased with the consistency which is coming in his jump. ‘I’m not too worried about my placings now. I’m working more on my skill level, and trying not to peak too early.

‘I want to make sure I bring the full fury for the Olympic Games’ he said.

Head coach Jeff Wintersteen, a World Cup skier in his competitive days, said he had some mixed emotions with the day – pleased with the podiums and top fives, but also knowing what those trying for the Olympics were going through as they face Sunday’s final qualifying World Cup. The U.S. Olympic freestyle team will be announced Wednesday, Jan. 25, at Deer Valley resort in Utah.

‘We had some light sprinkles, but I don’t think they affected anything although the rain last night softened the snow a bit. We really had treacherous conditions [Thursday] – it was super hard and icy – but the organizers did a great job putting the course together. They’ve worked hard all week and this was a super course – but hard.’

He also was pleased with the performance by DiGravio, a Carrabassett Valley Academy product who was named to the U.S. Ski Team last month after skiing well in Selection Events in Utah. ‘I’m excited for him, really very happy. You know when you make the team out of selections it’s because you’re skiing well … and he kept his emotions in check to reach finals … and then ski hard again in finals. Good for him.”

With one contest remaining before the Olympic team is named, Wintersteen said, ‘This is a tough week, for the athletes and for the coaches. These athletes are putting their heart into everything and I’m especially proud of the skiers ‘on the bubble’ because no one’s backing down. They’re giving it everything … and there still are a couple of opportunities where someone – or a couple of them – could lay down a great run and make the Olympic team.

‘It’s certainly not over.’

The Nature Valley Freestyle Cup continues Saturday night with aerials at the MacKenzie Intervale Jumping Complex and concludes Sunday with the second moguls contest of the weekend at Whiteface.

– Courtesy USSA News Bureau

World Cup freestyle results
Nature Valley Freestyle Cup
Lake Placid, N.Y. – Jan. 20, 2006
(16 made finals)
Men’s moguls

1. Dale Begg-Smith Australia, 26.71 points
2. Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada, 26.24
3. Toby Dawson, Vail, Colo., 25.89
4. Travis Cabral, South Lake Tahoe, Calif., 25.81
5. Sami Mustonen, Finland, 25.47
Other U.S. athletes
6. David DiGravio, Farmington, Maine, 25.45
7. Nate Roberts, Park City, Utah, 25.27
15. Dave Babic, Washington, Vt., 22.66
17. Michael Morse, Duxbury, Mass.
18. Luke Westerlund, Breckenridge, Colo.
26. Tim Preston, Campton, N.H.
32. Travis Mayer, Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Women’s moguls
1. Michaelle Roark, Denver, 25.99
2. Stephanie St. Pierre, Canada, 24.43
3. Kari Traa, Norway, 24.33
4. Nikola Sudova, Czech Republic, 24.09
5. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, Calif., 23.68
Other U.S. athletes
10. Shelly Robertson, Reno, Nev., 22.60
14. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, Vt., 19.48
15. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, N.Y., 16.30
20. Eliza Outtrim, Hamden, Conn.
22. McKenzy Golding, Reno, Nev.
23. Kayla Snyderman, Winchester, Mass.
27. Emiko Torito, Denver

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