Bloomington native Keri Herman finished fourth in an Olympic qualifier.
BRECKENRIDGE, COLO. – When she completed her second run Saturday, Keri Herman raised her arms, then rushed to the fence to embrace a sea of family and friends. The Bloomington native didn’t make the podium in the first Olympic qualifier for slopestyle freeskiing, but she considered it a victory just to finish upright.
A wicked headwind contributed to several crashes in the finals of the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships at Breckenridge. After attempting a big final trick on her first run — and falling on the landing — Herman chose to ski conservatively on her second trip down the course. That earned a score of 71.20, putting her in fourth place.
Devin Logan of the United States won the event with a score of 87.80, followed by Kim Lamarre of Canada (81.20) and 15-year-old American Maggie Voisin (77.20). Herman earned 60 Olympic qualification points, putting her behind Logan (100 points) and Voisin (80) in the race to claim berths on the U.S. Olympic team.
The Dew Tour is the first of five Olympic selection events for the halfpipe and slopestyle disciplines in freeskiing and snowboarding. Herman plans to get right back after it next weekend, competing in the second selection event at the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colo.
“I had to play it really safe,’’ Herman said of Saturday’s second run. “I just wanted to land and put something down. I’m still walking, so it’s a good day.
“The wind was gnarly. It was so hard; you just couldn’t tell what it was going to do. I just did what I could.’’
Herman has lived in Breckenridge for 10 years and was thrilled to begin the Olympic selection process on her home mountain. She had the largest cheering section at Saturday’s event, including her parents, John and Diana Herman of Bloomington, and friends who waved signs and dressed up in costumes.
She skied an excellent first run until the end, when she tried a 900 — a trick in which the skier rotates 2 ½ times in the air — and crash-landed. As she awaited her second run, the two skiers who preceded her also crashed, including her close friend Ashley Battersby. Battersby was taken off the course on a sled, and there was no immediate word on her condition.
Herman and St. Louis Park native Grete Eliassen are among a deep field of Americans shooting for the Olympic team in slopestyle freeskiing. Up to four women can make the team. Eliassen crashed in Wednesday’s qualifying round at the Dew Tour and did not make the finals.
“We’ve got a really strong team,’’ Herman said. “America’s so big, and there are so many girls. They’re just coming out of the woodwork, and they’re so good. It’s definitely going to be a tough competition for those Olympic spots.’’
Finals also were held in three other Dew Tour events. Greg Bretz scored a major upset in the men’s snowboard superpipe, defeating two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White. Bretz, a 2010 Olympian in halfpipe, scored a 91.40 on his first run to top a strong international field of 16 riders. He was the first person to beat White in a halfpipe final in nearly four years. White crashed on his first run then scored a 90.40 on his second to finish in second place.
American David Wise won the men’s freeskiing superpipe.
The women’s snowboard superpipe was won by 2010 Olympic gold medalist Torah Bright of Australia, with American Kelly Clark — a three-time Olympian and 2002 gold medalist — second.
The Dew Tour ends Sunday with finals in the men’s freeski slopestyle and snowboard slopestyle. White led the qualifying in the snowboard slopestyle and is trying to make the Olympic team in both that event and the halfpipe.
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