BBTS alum and Olympic champion Hannah Kearney won the debut moguls World Cup in China for her second victory of the season. Kearney led three women into the top 10 while the U.S. men posted four top 10 results.
Tuesday’s competition marked the third consecutive podium finish for Kearney, who has placed first, second and now another first in the opening three stops of the World Cup. Kearney remains firmly in control of the yellow jersey, while teammate Deneen was bumped into second in the men’s standings.
Hannah Kearney (left) highlights the podium with her second win in three World Cups. (FIS)
“I qualified first after some shaky training,” said Kearney. “But I am proud to be the first victor in China.”
Kearney was joined in the top 10 by teammates Heather McPhie (Bozeman, MT) in fifth and Heidi Kloser (Vail, CO) ninth. The USA’s Eliza Outtrim finished 14th to total four American women in the top 15.
“I was really happy that I qualified fourth,” recounts a smiling McPhie. “I kind of had a slow start to this season. Coming into finals I had trained a couple of D-spins the day before, so I threw one in the finals. I was really happy to be pushing myself and skiing fast. I’m getting the hunger back to compete.”
Kearney was followed by Canada’s Jennifer Heil and Kristi Richars in second adn third. In the men’s competition, Canada’s Mikeal Kingsbury won the men’s competiton with Guilbaut Colas of France in second and Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau of Canada in third.
Olympic bronze medalist Bryon Wilson’s (Butte, MT) led three U.S. men into the top 10 with a sixth place performance. Jeremy Cota (Carrabassett Valley, ME) finished seventh, while Sho Kashima (Lake Tahoe, CA) and Joe Discoe (Telluride, CO) ended the day in ninth and 10th.
“My qualifying run went really well, I qualified in fifth,” said Wilson. “In the finals coming out of the top air I had a bobble and I think that cost me the podium. But overall I was happy with my performance.”
David Digravio (Farmington, ME) and Patrick Deneen (Cle Elum, WA) also made the finals in China, with Digravio in 11th. Deneen wsa a DNF.
The inaugural World Cup moguls competition in China went off fairly smooth. Fewer athletes in attendance than previous events forced some schedule changes on competition day. Changes inncluded a combined training session for both men and women that was held immediately after training.
“It was like the old days when we used to be divisional skiers growing up,” said Kearney about the change up. “It became a mental game that appealed to me. It all worked out in my favor.”
The U.S. Freestyle Ski Team not only had to adapt once they were in China, but also had to adapt after more than 50 hours of travel time to get to Beida Lake. Delays kept the Team in Amsterdam overnight before having to spend nearly eight hours on the tarmac before takeoff. Upon arrival, the skiers had to make adjustments to the food and water. With cultural food experiences such as the cooked whole chicken’s feet were not touched, even in a room full of adventurous people.
“I almost ate one,” said U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Coach Garth Hager.
The World Cup season breaks for the holidays with competition resuming Jan. 7 in St. Johann, Austria.