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Apex WC Finals: Kearney 3rd, Preston leads U.S. men in 5th

Apex WC Finals: Kearney 3rd, Preston leads U.S. men in 5th{mosimage}PENTICTON, B.C. – Hannah Kearney finished third Saturday in moguls at World Cup Finals, her fourth top three of the 2006 season, as U.S. skiers had four women in their top 10 in the last World Cup contest of the winter.

U.S. men, led by Tim Preston in fifth, had three in the top 10 at Apex Mountain Resort.

Olympic and World Cup champion Dale Begg-Smith of Australia won the men’s event with 27.04 points to 26.84 for Canadian Warren Tanner. Preston had 25.90 for the best result of his career with Dave Babic sixth and Dave Digravio ninth.

In the women’s contest, Czech Nikola Sudova received 26.70 points for the win while Olympic and World Cup champion Jennifer Heil of Canada was second, just .1 back. Kearney, the reigning moguls world champion, was third in the field of 21 with 26.38 to close the season in fifth place.

Michelle Roark finished fourth with 26.32 and was third in the season’s moguls points. Shelly Robertson was sixth with Jillian Vogtli 10th.

‘They skied in reverse order from their World Cup standing’ U.S. head coach Jeff Wintersteen said, ‘or I think Hannah would have scored better — really, she skied flawless again — and Timmy Preston would have, too. If he’d done later, he’d have been higher. He was just outrageous on his run, but he skied so early and that cost him some points with the judges … and if Digravio had gone later, he’d have done better, too. He had another good run.

‘Hannah’s had two podiums in the last couple of weeks, and if we can tighten some of her consistency … well, we know what she can do when she’s on her game. If she’d been later, maybe last or second from last instead of five or six from last, she’d have scored higher.’

Kearney reached the podium with her heli off the top bump and back flip-X off the bottom jump.

He also was impressed with Robertson’s run — ‘just a great day for Shelly’ — and Roark’s ability to hold onto her final top-three spot in the moguls standings.

Snow conditions were very soft — ‘very forgiving, no ice anywhere’ — after recent storms, he said. ‘They’ve had so much snow it made the course easier than it might have been.’

The field was open to the top 24 skiers but several skiers — there were only 15 men competing — declined the chance to compete.

World Cup Finals conclude Sunday with aerials and the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships open Thursday at Vermont’s Killington resort.

- USSA

FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
World Cup Finals
Apex Mountain Resort
Penticton, B.C. – March 18, 2006

Men’s moguls
1. Dale Begg-Smith, Australia, 27.04 points
2. Warren Tanner, Canada, 26.84
3. Guilbaut Colas, France, 26.27
4. Marc-Andre Moreau, Canada, 26.22
5. Tim Preston, Campton, N.H., 25.90
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6. David Babic, Washington, Vt., 25.84
9. David Digravio, Farmington, Maine, 25.38

Women’s moguls
1. Nikola Sudova, Czech Republic, 26.70
2. Jennifer Heil, Canada, 26.60
3. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, Vt., 26.38
4. Michelle Roark, Denver, 26.32
5. Kari Traa, Norway, 26.15
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6. Shelly Robertson, Reno, Nev., 25.91
10. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, N.Y., 25.03
13. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, Calif., 24.82
14. Emiko Torito, Denver, 24.75
15. Heather McPhee, Bozeman, Mont., 24.30
16. Eliza Outtrim, Hamden, Conn., 24.15

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