McPhie takes fourth twice at U.S. Freestyle Champs |

McPhie takes fourth twice at U.S. Freestyle Champs

DEVON O'NEILsummit daily news
Special to the Daily Heather McPhie, who won the NorAm Tour championship earlier this season, finished fourth in a pair of moguls events at nationals last weekend.

PARK CITY, Utah – At the biggest competition of the year last weekend, the U.S. Freestyle Championships, Team Summit’s female mogul skiers proved to all that their year was no fluke.The proof began, not surprisingly, with soon-to-be U.S. Ski Teamer Heather McPhie. The 20-year-old NorAm Tour champion finished fourth in both women’s moguls events – singles and duals – at the Park City Mountain Resort, and beat a number of her future teammates along the way.National team veterans filled the women’s podium in both events, led by 2002 Olympians Jillian Vogtli and Michelle Roark, as well as Shelly Robertson. McPhie finished after them, ahead of five other U.S. Teamers in singles and three others in duals.

She probably would’ve finished on the podium in duals if not for a contact lens failure. In the middle of her semifinal duel with Roark, McPhie’s contacts slipped out of place and forced her to complete her run, including a back flip on the bottom air, “practically blinded,” Team Summit coach John Dowling said.Fifteen-year-old Team Summit phenom Jordan Poyfair followed up her singles title at the Junior Olympics with a ninth place in singles and 10th place in duals at nationals. She beat three U.S. Ski Team members in singles.Sarah Ruckriegle, 16, also made the 16-skier finals in singles, finishing 12th overall. She was also 30th in duals. Her teammate, Cheryl Pearson, took 16th in singles.

Another teen sensation, 15-year-old Whitney Henceroth, took 14th in the 47-skier duals and 19th in the 52-person singles. She was followed in singles by 17-year-old Mallory Cleveland (32nd) and 13-year-old Mikaela Matthews (35th). Matthews was one of the youngest competitors at the event.While seven Team Summit women traveled to nationals, Kris Pepe and Mike Mead represented the club’s men. Mead narrowly missed the cut for the finals in singles, coming up .02 seconds short and settling for 17th in the 48-skier field. Pepe finished 41st in a competition that was won by this year’s world champion, Nate Roberts.The Team Summit duo reversed the order in duals, with Pepe taking 21st and Mead finishing 28th. U.S. Teamer Roberts also won the duals crown. World Cup champion Jeremy Bloom skipped the event to catch his breath from the season overseas.

Team Summit’s 2004-2005 freestyle season is now officially over, but the club is hosting the first event of the 2005-2006 season, the Landon Sawyer-CU Bump Bash at A-Basin, on April 9-10. The club is also holding freestyle spring camps at the Basin on May 5-8 and 12-15. Former Team Summit skier and current U.S. Ski Team star Dave Babic will serve as a guest coach there; interested parties should call the program director Dowling at (970) 485-0800.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at

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