Vogtli, Cabral capture mogul titles at freestyle nationals{mosimage}USSA — Hometown hero Travis Cabral collected his second U.S. moguls title and Olympian Jillian Vogtli won her first Friday on Day One of the Chevrolet U.S. Freestyle Championships at Heavenly Mountain Resort on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore.

“I knew I’d get it. I absolutely knew,” said Vogtli, who came back from knee surgery in April 2001 to make the 2002 Olympic team. She clicked with a heli off the top jump and a huge twister spread off the bottom jump, good for 24.96 points. “I’ve had seconds and thirds but, yup, now I’ve got my title.” And the $3,400 0prize cash.

Shelly Robertson was silver medalist at 24.23 and Michelle Roark finished third on Heavenly’s Gunbarrel run with 23.96. Defending champion Hannah Kearney finished 35th after losing a ski off her first jump.

A short time later, Cabral — who led the qualifying round — manhandled Gunbarrel, earning 26.13 points. Second place went to Ryan Riley with 25.49 and Tim Preston was the bronze medalist at 24.82.

“I’ve been on this run my whole life,” Cabral said. “It’s great. I’m really comfortable here.” His first U.S. championship came in 1999 at Utah’s Deer Valley Resort — making him the nation’s youngest moguls champion at just 15.

At Heavenly, he nailed his signature 720-cross grab — a double (vertical) rotation while grabbing his skis, which form an X behind him — off the top jump and a triple twister spread off the bottom jump. “It was great fun,” he said, “and we had such a great crowd — man, so many people called in sick or just took the day off. We had tons of people watching. It was amazing.”

The snow was powdery to begin the day but that quickly disappeared as the moguls brigade chewed through it in the morning. By afternoon, it was getting softer, but with the field pared to only 16 finalists for men and 16 for women, conditions held up better, he said.

“It was one of those days,” Cabral said. “[Thursday] we had snow and today it was blue sky most of the day. It was still cold, so that pulled moisture out of the snow — y’know,” he said, pausing to laugh, “I think we had every condition imaginable on such a beautiful day.”

Cabral, the 2003 World Cup moguls champion, missed World Cup Finals because he came home to have his aching knees checked. He had an MRI on each knee “and the doctor said it was bruising in the fatty tissue around my knees. But he also said, ‘You’re skiing moguls seven days a week. This is to be expected.’ They were killing me but I took 2-1/2 weeks off and this was just about my second day back skiing, so it’s great!

“I’m not overly concerned about the World Cup because with this one I’ve had seven podiums this year. My focus is to be ready for World Championships next season and the 2006 Olympics,” he said. “I’m really pleased with where I am as I look ahead for the next couple of years.”

Vogtli was beaming with her first championship. “I told myself I was going to do it,” she said. “This is what I wanted.”

She echoed Cabral in loving the run. “It’s wonderful, coming right down to the base of the mountain, everyone can come up and watch…the pitch is wonderful – really, just perfect. The landing’s steep but not too steep. And, of course, you get off the chair and you turn around and – boom! – there’s that great panorama of Tahoe. It can be very distracting.”

The championships continue Saturday with aerials; women’s qualifying will be in late afternoon and men’s aerials finals begin at 8 p.m. Everything concludes Sunday with dual moguls as the Nature Valley Freestyle Challenge.

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

1. Travis Cabral, South Lake Tahoe, Calif., 26.13 points
2. Ryan Riley, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 25.49
3. Tim Preston, Campton, N.H., 24.82
4. Jordan Chiovarelli, Port Washington, N.Y., 24.70
5. Nate Roberts, Park City, Utah, 24.66
6. Justin Filskov, East Wallingford, Vt., 24.30
7. Jesse Jenison, Tahoe City, Calif., 24.07
8. Joseph Discoe, Ridgway, Colo., 23.87
9. Jimmy Discoe, Ridgway, Colo., 23.41
10. Ron Digravio, Farmington, Maine, 23.21

Women’s Moguls
1. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, N.Y., 24.96
2. Shelly Robertson, Reno, Nev., 24.23
3. Michelle Roark, Denver, 23.96
4. McKenzy Golding, Reno, Nev., 23.42
5. Eliza Outtrim, Hamden, Conn., 22.84
6. Laurel Shanley, Squaw Valley, Calif., 22.45
7. Alison Levy, Denver, 22.29
8. Alexandra Teng, Kensington, Calif., 21.86
9. Emiko Torito, Denver, 21.75
10. Candice White, Boise, Idaho, 21.46

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