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U.S. Ski Team's Torito wins first WC moguls event

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Emiko Torito won her first World Cup moguls event Friday and two teammates reached their first podium as the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup got under way in a snowstorm. Torito claimed her first World Cup victory with Kayla Snyderman third in the women's contest. Pat Deneen finished third in the men's event at Whiteface Mountain.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Emiko Torito won her first World Cup moguls event Friday and two teammates reached their first podium as the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup got under way in a snowstorm. Torito claimed her first World Cup victory with Kayla Snyderman third in the women's contest. Pat Deneen finished third in the men's event at Whiteface Mountain.
    "I was insanely nervous before my first run," Torito said at the finish. "But the course was better than it was in training and I kept focusing on technical things like keeping my eyes up and keeping my feet underneath me. Second run, I still was nervous, but I told myself, 'You're ready. You're ready!'"
    She led qualifying in the morning and said she sat on her jitters before the final run. Her two jumps were a helicopter off the first "air" and a back-flip off the bottom jump as she won with 25.17 points. She was more than a full point ahead of Italy's Deborah Scanzio (23.98). Kayla Snyderman, who won a NorAm dual moguls event over the weekend in Quebec, finished third at 23.70.
    "It's been such a long time coming and I get emotional just thinking about it. I can't count how many times I've imagined winning," said Torito, whose family lives in Denver, but who skis out of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Snyderman came through Nick Preston's program at Waterville Valley, NH. She will enter her sophomore year at Dartmouth College in the spring.

Winner thrilled for teammates
"Our whole team made finals [i.e., 16 skiers qualifying]. We have such a strong team and I really believe on any given day, any of us could win, could be on the podium," Torito said. The snow helped soften what had been an icy course "and made it more forgiving," she added.
    Snyderman said winning a dual moguls event at Val St. Come, Que., during the weekend helped propel her to the World Cup podium. "I know I've been skiing well and I wanted to keep it up. I exceeded my expectations, though, so I'm really happy."
    Despite the gusting winds, visibility was not too bad on Wilderness bumps run. "It was definitely different than on our training days. With a few inches of powder, it was so much fun," Snyderman said.
    Warren Tanner of Canada qualified 14th but laid down a solid final run that edged Olympic and defending World Cup champion Dale Begg-smith of Australia by six-hundredths of a point, 25.55-25.49. Deneen, who qualified for the World Cup start out of the U.S. Freestyle Selections events last month, filled the podium with his run worth 25.22.
    Like Snyderman, he won a moguls contest on the weekend at Val St. Come and used it as a springboard to his podium. "I came in here and wanted to stay the same as I was [skiing] in the NorAms where I've been winning the [moguls] events. I focused my mind and stayed right there.

Deneen: Reaching finals defused pressures
"And once I qualified second, it was like all the pressure was off. It felt great to be in finals and I told myself I just needed to lay down my run, and it worked out beautifully."
    He praised event organizers "for all the pine boughs they put on the course. It made it so easy to see everything, even with the wind and some blowing snow."
    The Nature Valley Freestyle Cup moves on to an aerials event Saturday night at Lake Placid's Olympic Jumping Complex. Sunday, the weekend schedule ends with another moguls contest at Whiteface.

Click here for a link to complete results.

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