Summit mogul skiers place well at Sochi |

Summit mogul skiers place well at Sochi

Special to the Daily/Garth Hager

Frisco’s Mikaela Matthews secured her third top 10 World Cup freestyle moguls finish Friday at the Sochi Olympic Test Event in Russia.

Dylan Walczyk, of Dillon, is competing alongside Matthews in the men’s division. He found himself in the heartbreak position Friday, placing 17th in the event and just missing the semifinals.

They both are headed to Japan for the next World Cup stop in Inawashiro this weekend.

Matthews’ goal in entering her second World Cup season and first full season was to make semifinals in at least one competition. She’s now achieved three top 10s.

“She gets frustrated when she thought she should have done better, but that’s the nature of a judged sport,” Matthews’ father, Craig Matthews, said.

In mid-January, Matthews had her best finish all season at Lake Placid’s World Cup event. So, too, did Walczyk, who finished third of 66 men from 17 countries.

Matthews, 21, was the second-highest American woman behind reigning world champion Hannah Kearney, who won the gold medal at the event. In the women’s field, there were 42 women representing 14 countries in the moguls competition.

The 19-year-old Walczyk got the call to compete in Lake Placid after another athlete decided to sit out to recover from an injury. He placed so well in Lake Placid as an alternate, and subsequently at Calgary (14th) and Deer Valley (7th) that the team opted to keep him on the tour to go to Russia, Japan, Sweden and Spain.

Both athletes are alums of Summit County’s skiing programs, Matthews of Team Summit and Walczyk of Team Breckenridge Sports Club. Walczyk trains with John Dowling at Ski and Snowboard Club Vail. They are both on the U.S. Ski Team’s moguls team.

Walczyk competed for a World Cup spot as a U.S. Ski Team athlete at Copper in the early season, but didn’t make the cut then. Now, he’s in contention for a slot at the World Championships in Norway – a destination Matthews also has her eyes on.

The two also are eyeing the Olympics, though it’s competitive to land a spot on the team. Craig Matthews said there are at least eight women on the moguls team vying to go, and a maximum of four can go – provided the U.S. Ski Team opts to send that many for moguls. Kearney will likely be a shoe-in (she won the Sochi test event) as will Heather McPhie and Eliza Outtrim.

“Below that, everyone is fighting for position,” Craig Matthews said.

Before Lake Placid, in December, Matthews finished 13th in Ruka, Finland’s dual moguls competition and 18th in Kreischberg, Austria’s dual moguls event.

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