Kearney takes World Cup win in Marianske Lazne spoiling Canadian podium sweep, Cota third
After a three-week break from competition following the Freestyle World Championships in Deer Valley, Utah, the World Cup’s moguls skiers were back in the bumps today (Feb. 26) for a dual contest in Marianske Lazne, Czech Republic.
Americans Hannah Kearney and Jeremy Cota spoiled an all Canadian podium sweep as Kearney grabbed her sixth victory of the season and Cota matched the career high he established earlier this season in Lake Placid in third place.
"Today there was a sense of redemption," said U.S. Freestyle Head Coach Scott Rawles of Kearney who missed her golden goals at Worlds and had to settle for silver and bronze. "You could see it in her eyes. She was ready to go today."
"The course was perfect for duals, because it was really, really short," explained Kearney. "That was the fastest time I have ever had on a course."
Birthday girl Kearney, the reigning Olympic champion, went up against her longtime rival, Canadian Jennifer Heil in the women’s final. In a rematch of both the 2010 Olympic Games and this months Worlds, at which Heil was a double gold medalsit, Kearney took the win to lead the dual rankings with 709 points to Heil’s 492. Kearney also owns the individual moguls lead over Heil, who will retire at the end of the season, 609 to 412.
"I learned from my other duals this year and skied more aggressively," said Kearney. "It obviously paid off. It was really satisfying to win."
Heil’s teammates Chloe DuFord-LaPointe and Audrey Robichaud followed in third and fourth, respectively.
Canadians Alex Bilodeau and Mikael Kingsbury went head-to-head in the finals of the dual mogul event. Bilodeau bested Kingsbury in the most exciting dual of the day by the narrowest of margins, an 18-17 vote by the judges.
“I feel great right now, I’m feeling the momentum and I’m in great shape,” said Bilodeau, the 2010 Olympic champion. “This is a challenging course because, it’s short and while it starts out fairly steep, it quickly goes to about 10 degrees. With [Kingsbury] and me it was really tight because neither of us made any mistakes.”
Americans Patrick Deneen and David DiGravio also cracked the top ten in eighth and ninth, respectively.
"It was a fun event, the course turned out really well," said Cota about his Czech experience. "We got a really good crowd to come out and watch which was motivating."
The World Cup moguls tour is back in action Mar. 11-12 in Are, Sweden with a moguls and dual moguls event, before wrapping up the season in Voss, Norway, site of the 2013 World Championships.
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