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Kearney 2nd, Retains Lead
CYPRESS MOUNTAIN, BC For the second week in a row, judges gave the edge to Canadian Jennifer Heil as she took a narrow FIS Freestyle World Cup moguls win over the U.S. Ski Team's Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT) on the Olympic course in Cypress Mountain. Despite finishing second, Kearney retained the World Cup lead with her fifth podium in as many events this season.
Leader Jennifer Heil
Alexandre Bilodeau won the men's, making it five Canadian wins in six events at Cypress and setting the bar high for the home nation at next year's 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Patrick Deneen (Cle Elum, WA) was fourth, missing the podium by three tenths.
Judges Give Edge to Heil
Heil, who led qualifying, took the win by six tenths, 24.79 to 24.18 for Kearney. The Canadian took a narrow 13.4-13.2 margin on turns and a bigger 5.22-4.61 edge on airs, despite Kearney's higher degree of difficulty on her bottom air. Kearney held the edge on time.
"I skied the best I could on that course," said Kearney. "It was my best run down all week. So I'm happy."
The World Cup leader opened with a back layout on the top, landing it clean but not winning the judges. "I skied it better than I did in training – maybe not my best ever, but solid." Heil outscored Kearney on the top air.
On the bottom air, Kearney landed a spectacular heli mute grab. "I did it for the second time in competition and this time I actually grabbed it, so that was very satisfying. I'm glad I pushed myself and tried something new." The judges liked it and gave the edge to Kearney, but even with a higher DD, it wasn't enough."It's something that's been on my mind the last couple years to try something new," she said. "I worked on it a lot on the trampoline and on-snow in Chile."
"Hannah did such an awesome job," said Moguls Head Coach Scott Rawles. "It's her fifth podium in five events and she laid down her best stuff. In the final, she had the fastest time, skied great and really stuck her mute grab for the first time in competition. She's definitely really on the right track."
The U.S. put five women into the finals. Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA) was the only other top 10, finishing eighth.
Despite two straight wins, Heil is still 45 points behind Kearney in the World Cup standings at the halfway point in the season. Each has two wins, but Kearney has not yet been off the podium.
Good Feelings About Olympic Course
There were good feelings about the Olympic course. While the tour swung through Cypress a year ago, weather forced a cancelation so it was the first real test.
"The course is great and they were receptive to athlete's and coach's concerns and it made for a great course for the competition," added Kearney. "Canada is great about being open to suggestions and building a good course. We were nervous on the first day of training – it was very difficult and very different from Deer Valley – and it turned out well. And the cooling temperatures helped keep the snow in place.
Officials changed the bottom air and also pushed down the tops of moguls that reached up to three feet.
"Being here is awesome," said Kashima. "Getting some experience hopefully for next year is great."
"The course is really good," said Morse. "The course was a little rough in the beginning of the week and as the days went on it got better and better. It's definitely my goal leading into next year. To come here and have a chance to have a go at it, see what the course is like and see what I can do on it is great."
The moguls team is now off to Are, Sweden for individual and duals competitions next weekend, then on to Norway before the FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships in early March in Inawashiro, Japan.
Multimedia: For audio from Cypress Mountain click here.
FIS FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
Cypress Mountain, BC - Feb. 7, 2009
1. Jennifer Heil, Canada, 24.79
2. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, VT, 24.18
8. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, CA, 21.84
12. Kayla Snyderman, Winchester, MA, 21.15
15. Emiko Torito, Denver, 19.66
16. Michelle Roark, Denver, 19.26
Did not make finals
28. Shelly Robertson, Reno, NV, 11.74
# # #
For complete results, click here.
14. March 192
photo Cheltenham jockey club
14. March 212
photo Cheltenham Racecourse