After another strong performance this weekend, Amesbury native Dylan Ferguson seems like a lock to earn a spot on the United States Olympic freestyle ski team.
On the other hand, Seabrook snowboarder Scotty Lago is running out of time in his pursuit of a spot on the United States Olympic team for the second Games in a row.
Ferguson placed seventh overall and second among American skiers Friday at the Visa Freestyle International FIS World Cup at Deer Valley in Utah. Ferguson now has two top-seven finishes in the three Olympic qualifiers, positioning himself as the top-ranked American heading into the final two qualifiers. The first will take place in Val St. Come, Quebec City, tomorrow. The final qualifier will be in Lake Placid, N.Y., next weekend.
Ferguson’s United States teammate Jonathan Lillis (Rochester, N.Y.) all but locked up a second spot on the ski aerials team with a fourth-place finish at Deer Valley on Saturday. Lillis trumped Ferguson’s top finish — a fifth-place result in the second qualifier — although he did not surpass Ferguson in the rankings, since his second-best result is not nearly as high as Ferguson’s seventh-place finish on Saturday. The United States men’s ski aerial team will almost certainly include at least two athletes.
“It’s cool to see some guys throw some big tricks,” Ferguson said in his post-competition remarks Saturday. “With so many rounds, you have to play it by ear what trick you’re going to do in each round. You might see what everybody else is doing and then sort of play it from there. You obviously want to qualify highest so you can see who is going to throw those big tricks in front of you.”
The weekend was not as productive for Lago, who won Olympic bronze in the halfpipe in 2010. Lago missed the cut for the snowboarding finals at the Sprint Grand Prix in Breckenridge, Colo. — the third of five Olympic selection events.
Lago’s disappointing result won’t count against him since a significant snowstorm forced the cancellation of the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix before the finals. The event will not be scored, meaning only four qualifiers will be factored in the selection of the Olympic team.
Since Lago did not earn a top-four finish in either of the first two qualifiers, he is in need of two such finishes in the final two events to earn consideration for the Olympic team. The final snowboarding events will take place this weekend at Mammoth Mountain.