Mar 01 Team USA Weekend Preview: March 1, 2013

By Paul D. Bowker | March 01, 2013, 12:30 p.m. (ET)
 
Scotty Lago spins above the pipe as he finished second in the FIS Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix on Feb. 1, 2013, in Park City, Utah.

The winter sports are starting to wrap up, but there’s still plenty of action this weekend as the Nordic skiing world championships continue in Italy, plus biathlon, snowboarding, speedskating, figure skating and curling all have events. Closer to home, some of the world’s best gymnasts meet in Massachusetts for the American Cup. Check out the Team USA Weekend Preview for more information.

SNOWBOARDING

For the first time, the 31st annual Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships presented by MINI are being held in Vail, Colo., and already the snowboarders are putting on quite a show. Kelly Clark and Scotty Lago qualified for the top two spots for the halfpipe finals which are set for Saturday. Arielle Gold, who claimed the world crown earlier this season, was second as was two-time Olympic champion Shaun White.

The event had been held in Vermont before moving to Vail this year.

In slopestyle, Canadian Spencer O’Brien led the women’s field with her winning run and right behind her was American Jamie Anderson. The top six riders advanced to the final. On the men’s side, Norwegian Torstein Horgmo took first place with American Eric Willett in second. Twelve men qualified for the finals including Americans Willett, Chas Guldemond, Sage Kotsenburg and Ryan Stassel.

Sprint U.S. Grand Prix, March 1-2, Canyons Resort, Park City, Utah

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott and two-time X Games medalist Nick Baumgartner will chase after podium finishes Saturday in the snowboardcross competition at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix event in Park City, Utah. Other top boarders include Jonathan Cheever, Faye Gulini and Nate Holland.

Read more about Jonathan Cheever in our Go For The Gold feature.

Friday’s action includes the USANA Skicross finals, featuring World Cup winner Jon Teller and World Cup medalist Joe Swensson.

TV: 3 p.m.-4 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC Sports Network

SKIING

Nordic
FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, Feb. 20-March 3, Val di Fiemme, Italy

The women’s cross country relay team added to a strong U.S. performance at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships by posting a fourth-place finish, its best for a world championships or an Olympic Winter Games. Jessie Diggins, the relay’s anchor, passed Finland for fourth place in the final few hundred meters of her segment. Liz Stephen, Kikkan Randall and Sadie Bjornsen were the other members of the squad.

The women’s best previous finish in the relay at the Nordic World Ski Championships was ninth place two years ago. The women did finish seventh at the Lake Placid 1980 Olympic Winter Games and Sarajevo 1984 Olympic Winter Games. Randall and Diggins also made history last week by winning gold in the team sprint.

“It’s hard to come up with a real solid strategy on the relay because you never know maybe you’ll be in a pack, maybe you’ll be chasing someone down, maybe you’ll be by yourself,” Diggins said. “But I watched these girls doing a really great job. I was proud of them. I knew I had to give it everything I got.”

The worlds finish up with the men’s relay Friday, followed by a 30km women’s event Saturday and a 50km men’s event Sunday. The Nordic Combined team sprint will be held Saturday.

Alpine
FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing, women’s downhill and super-G, March 1-3, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

World Championship super-G bronze medalist Julia Mancuso solidified herself as a contender for the 2013 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup super-G title after tying for second Friday with overall leader Tina Maze of Slovenia. Mancuso, a two-time Olympian, sits 65 points behind Maze in the title chase with two super-G races remaining on the calendar, including a second Sunday in Garmisch where Mancuso will be going for her fourth straight super-G podium at the German resort.

TV: 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. ET Friday and 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Saturday, Universal Sports

Webcast: 4:30 a.m. Saturday, universalsports.com

FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing, men’s downhill and super-G, March 1-3, Kvitfjell, Norway

TV: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. ET Saturday, Universal Sports

Webcast: 5:45 a.m. Saturday, universalsports.com

Freestyle
FIS Freestyle World Championships, March 4-10, Oslo-Tryvann, Norway

Qualifying rounds begin Monday at the FIS Freestyle World Championships in Oslo-Tryvann, Norway. The worlds continue through March 10. The first medals competition is Tuesday in the halfpipe. Hannah Kearney of the United States is the World Cup leader in the women’s moguls points standings.

GYMNASTICS

AT&T American Cup, March 2, Worcester, Mass.

Olympic bronze medalist Danell Leyva returns to competition on U.S. soil Saturday at the AT&T American Cup, a competition bringing together some of the world’s top gymnasts in Worcester, Mass.

“I can’t wait to compete,” Leyva said. “These guys are amazing. The lineup is huge. I can’t wait to show off, you know?”

Jake Dalton, another 2012 Olympian, also will compete in the men’s program at the DCU Center. Katelyn Ohashi and Simone Biles will represent the United States in the eight-person women’s field.

Leyva is the defending American Cup men’s champion. Among the gymnasts he will face Saturday is Germany’s Marcel Nguyen, who took the silver ahead of Leyva in the all-around at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Kyla Ross, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist as a member of the “Fierce Five” U.S. team, withdrew from the competition due to a bruised heel. Ross intends to still attend the event and may perform an exhibition routine on the balance beam, depending on now her heel is feeling.

The event will be the senior division debuts for Ohashi and Biles. Ohashi won junior gold medals in the all-around, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise at the 2012 Kellogg’s Pacific Rim Championships. Biles won the junior vault title at the 2012 Visa Championships.

The AT&T American Cup begins the four-year cycle toward the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. It is a part of the FIG World Cup series.

Two-time 2012 Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, two-time 1996 Olympic gold medalist Shannon Miller and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Jonathan Horton will appear at autograph-signing sessions.

TV: 1 p.m.-3 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC

Nastia Liukin Cup, March 1, Worcester, Mass.

Charity Jones of Miami, Okla., the 2012 champion, will be among 34 gymnasts competing Friday in the fourth annual Nastia Liukin Cup in Worcester. The field, which was chosen through a series of invitational meets held nationally over the last two months, also includes 2012 runner-up Alex McMurtry of Midlothian, Va.

A portion of the proceeds from the competition benefits the Nastia Liukin Fund, a charity that works in partnership with the National Gymnastics Foundation.

“It’s hard to believe what this event has become,” said Liukin, the all-around gold medalist at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. “So many of these athletes have gone on to become Junior Olympic champions and successful collegiate gymnasts.”

TV: 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m. ET Friday, Universal Sports

TRACK AND FIELD

USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, March 1-3, Albuquerque, N.M.

Olympic medalists Jenn Suhr, Janay DeLoach Soukup and Jeremy Wariner headline a star-studded field for the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, which begin Friday in Albuquerque, N.M.

Suhr, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and American record-holder in the women’s pole vault, will compete Saturday. DeLoach Soukup, a bronze medalist in the long jump at the London 2012 Olympic Games, will battle Olympic teammate Chelsea Hayes in the long jump. DeLoach Soukup will also run in the 60-meter hurdles. She won that event at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.

The men’s field includes Wariner, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, in the 400. He is making his first appearance at the USA Indoor Championships. Brad Walker, a 2012 Olympian, will try to win his fifth USA Indoor Championship title in the pole vault. Matthew Centrowitz, a 2012 Olympian, will compete in both the 800 and 1,500. A strong field in the 600 includes Erik Sowinski, who set an American record in the event at the Millrose Games in February. Ryan Whiting, a world indoor gold medalist, is the favorite in the men’s shot put.

The USA indoors are the final stop of the 2013 USATF Indoor Championship Series. Highlights include pentathlon and heptathlon competition Friday, finals in several field events and long-distance races Saturday, and race finals ranging from 60 to 800 meters Sunday.

TV: 6 p.m.-8 p.m. ET Saturday, Universal Sports; 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, NBC Sports Network

Also in track and field:

USA 50km Road Championships, March 3, Huntington, N.Y.

SPEEDSKATING

Essent ISU Long Track World Cup, March 1-3, Erfurt, Germany

Competition begins Friday in the eighth Essent ISU Long Track World Cup event of the season. This week’s stop is in Erfurt, Germany. It is the final regular World Cup event before the World Cup Final.

Among the U.S. skaters is Brian Hansen, who won bronze in the men’s 1,500 meters at a February World Cup event in Inzell, Germany. Other top U.S. long trackers include Shani Davis, Tucker Fredricks, world sprint women’s champ Heather Richardson and Jilleanne Rookard.

BIATHLON

IBU World Cup, Feb. 25-March 3, Oslo, Norway

Sean Doherty is making his senior team World Cup debut this week at the Oslo World Cup. He won an American-record three medals at the 2013 Youth/Junior World Championships. Doherty will join Tim Burke, a silver medalist at the recent IBU World Championships, among seven other U.S. athletes.

The women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint will be held Friday, featuring Susan Dunklee, Annelies Cook, Hannah Dreissigacker and Sara Studebaker. The men’s and women’s pursuits will be held Saturday, followed by the mass start competition Sunday.

FIGURE SKATING

ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, Feb. 25-March 3, Milan, Italy

Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier enjoyed a polished performance in their free program Thursday, and won gold in the pairs competition at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Milan. Denney and Frazier answered a third-place spot in the short program by scoring a personal-best 103.22 points in the free program.

Denney and Frazier are the first U.S. pairs skaters to win gold at the world juniors since Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker did so in 2007.

Joshua Farris, Shotaro Omori and Jason Brown are 1-2-3 in the men’s competition after the short program. Also on the verge of a podium finish are ice dancers Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton, who are in third place after their short program.

Courtney Hicks, the 2013 U.S. pewter medalist; three-time Junior Grand Prix Series medalist Samantha Cesario and Yasmin Siraj will skate in the women’s competition.

SYNCHRONIZED SKATING

U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, Feb. 28-March 2, Plymouth, Mich.

Nearly 1,800 skaters competing on 89 teams are participating this week in the 2013 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships in Plymouth, Mich. The 2013 U.S. World Synchronized Team will be selected from the senior division and will skate in the World Synchronized Skating Championships in April in Boston. The Haydenettes, defending U.S. champions, won bronze at the 2012 worlds.

The senior short program will be held Friday, followed by the free program Saturday. National titles will also be decided at Compuware Arena in the juvenile, intermediate, novice, junior, collegiate, adult and masters age divisions. Thursday, the Crystallettes of Dearborn, Mich., won the juvenile title and Team del Sol won the intermediate championship.

CURLING

World Junior Championships, Feb. 28-March 10, Sochi, Russia

U.S. teams led by Miranda Solem and Korey Dropkin are competing for podium finishes in the World Junior Championships in Sochi, Russia. The tournament is a curling test event for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

The men’s team split its first two games, defeating the Czech Republic 9-8 and losing 10-4 to Sweden. They will face Switzerland on Saturday. Dropkin, 17, and co-skip Thomas Howell III are back in the worlds after placing fifth in 2012. Also on the men’s squad are Mark Fenner, Connor Hoge and Alex Fenson, the son of 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Pete Fenson.

The women lost their opener to defending champion Scotland on Thursday by a 9-7 score and will face Norway on Friday. Solem is joined on the women’s team by Vicky Persinger, Karlie Koenig, Chelsea Solem and Cory Christensen. Miranda Solem won bronze with the United States in 2010.

WRESTLING

Women’s Freestyle World Cup, March 1-3, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Elena Pirozhkova, a 2012 Olympian, is among seven U.S. wrestlers who’ll compete in the Women’s Freestyle World Cup in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. After weigh-ins Friday, the competition begins Saturday.

Pirozhkova, also a 2012 world champion, will wrestle at 63 kilograms/138.75 pounds, her Olympic weight. Also competing for the United States: 2012 world bronze medalist Alyssa Lampe, 48kg; Jessica Medina, 51kg; 2012 world silver medalist Helen Maroulis, 55kg; Alli Ragan, 59kg; Veronica Carlson, 67kg; Brittney Roberts, 72kg.

Also in wrestling:

Alexander Medved International, men’s freestyle, March 1-2, Minsk, Belarus

FENCING

World Cup, women’s saber, March 1, Bologne, Italy

Three-time Olympian Mariel Zagunis will go after World Cup gold for a second straight week when she competes Friday in a women’s saber World Cup tournament in Bologne, Italy. Zagunis won her first gold of the season last week in Belgium when she defeated two-time Olympic medalist Olga Kharlan of Ukraine in the finals.
 
Also in fencing:

World Cup, women‘s foil, March 1, St. Petersburg, Russia

World Cup, women’s epée, March 1-3, Saint-Maur, France

Grand Prix, women’s foil, March 4, St. Petersburg, Russia

Regional Youth Circuit, Arnold Fencing Classic, March 1-3, Columbus, Ohio

SOCCER

U.S. Men’s U-20 National Team vs. Cuba, March 1, Puebla, Mexico

The U.S. Men’s U-20 National Team will play Cuba on Friday night in the semifinals of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. Both teams are 3-0-0 in the tournament. The championship game is scheduled for Sunday.

The United States clinched a spot in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup with Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Canada in the CONCACAF quarterfinals. Cuba, Mexico and El Salvador also qualified. Jose Villarreal, a forward from the Los Angeles Galaxy, has led the United States in the CONCACAF tournament with three goals, including two against Canada. Luis Gil has scored twice.

TV: 6 p.m. ET Friday, Fox Soccer, Univision Deportes

FIELD HOCKEY

IHF World League, Round 2, Feb. 27-March 5, Rio de Janiero, Brazil

The U.S. Men’s Field Hockey Team will face host Brazil on Saturday in its third game at the IHF World League, Round 2. The United States began the tournament with a 1-0 loss to Chile on Wednesday and a 6-1 loss to 12th-ranked South Africa Thursday.

The United States will also play Trinidad & Tobago on Sunday and Argentina on Tuesday. The top two teams at the tournament advance to Round 3 of the World League.

Also in field hockey:

National Indoor Tournament, March 1-3, Richmond, Va.

SOFTBALL

ISF World Fastpitch Championship Gold, March 1-10, Auckland, New Zealand

The USA Softball Men’s National Team will face Australia on Friday as it begins play in the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Fastpitch Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. The United States prepared for the tournament by winning three practice games this week, including 5-2 over Argentina and 6-2 over Netherlands.

The remaining pool play games: Samoa, March 2; South Africa, March 3; Czech Republic, March 4; Indonesia, March 5; Venezuela, March 6; Great Britain, March 7. The playoffs will begin March 8, followed by the final round March 10.

EQUESTRIAN

FEI Nations Cup, CSIO Wellington, Feb. 27-March 3, Wellington, Fla.

Beezie Madden and Reed Kessler, both 2012 Olympians, will be among four U.S. riders competing in the $75,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup event Friday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Fla. Madden will ride Simon, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, and Kessler will ride Cylana, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. Also on the U.S. jumping team are Kent Farrington, a 2011 Pan American Games gold medalist, and Laura Kraut, a 2008 Olympic medalist. The four riders hold the top four sports on the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List.

Eight teams will compete in the Nations Cup. Other nations include Argentina, Candada, Columbia, Germany, Ireland, Mexico and Venezuela.

The competition will also include an FEI Young Riders Nation Cup, Junior Riders Nation Cup and Children’s Nation Cup.

WEIGHTLIFTING

Arnold Weightlifting Championships, March 1-3, Columbus, Ohio

Top weightlifters from around the world are expected to compete in this weekend’s Arnold Weightlifting Championships in Columbus, Ohio. The event is part of the Arnold Sports Festival, a competition featuring 45 sports and co-promoted by film star and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. The event is a USA Weightlifting qualifier for the World Weightlifting Championships and Pan American Championships teams.

SQUASH

North American Open, Feb. 25-March 2, Richmond, Va.

Eight squash players ranked among the top 10 in the world are among those competing this week in the North American Open in Richmond, Va. The tournament is a part of the World Series level in the Professional Squash Association (PSA). The final rounds will be held Saturday.

CYCLING

Mellow Johnny’s Classic, March 2, Dripping Springs, Texas

The 2013 mountain bike season begins with Saturday’s Pro XCT tour stop, the Mellow Johnny’s Classic in Dripping Springs, Texas. The USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross-Country Tour (Pro XCT) will have nine stops.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org. Material from various news services and press releases from National Governing Bodies was used to compile  this report. This story was not subject to the approval of any National Governing Bodies.

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