Dawson, Kearney win and U.S. skiers dominate in World Cup moguls


Dawson, Kearney win and U.S. skiers dominate in World Cup moguls{mosimage}USSA — Toby Dawson got his third moguls victory in five events this season and led a 1-2-3-4-7-9-10 showing by U.S. men in World Cup action Sunday at Naeba, Japan. In the women’s moguls, 17-year-old Hannah Kearney grabbed her first win and took U.S. women into five of the first six places as the World Cup ended its annual Far East swing in sunshine and 50-degree weather.

Dawson was followed by defending World Cup moguls champion Travis Cabral in second place, Jeremy Bloom third and Dave Babic fourth, with Nate Roberts seventh, Ryan Riley ninth and Luke Westerlund 10th. Westerlund dislocated his left shoulder when he planted his ski pole too firmly in the snow on his bottom jump and pulled his shoulder; he was being treated by a USST doctor and will be further examined this week when the team returns briefly to the United States before heading on to Europe for the final meets of the winter.

Kearney, who turns 18 on Thursday and graduated from Hanover, New Hampshire, High School a month ago, was followed by Laurel Shanley in third place with Michelle Roark fourth, Jillian Vogtli fifth and Emiko Torito sixth. Shelly Robertson was 14th before 5,000 wildly cheering spectators.

“It was quite a day,” said head coach Don St. Pierre. “The crowd was huge and so were our athletes. This is one for the books.”

“Oh my gosh, this is unbelievable,” said Dawson, who had won at Deer Valley, Utah, and Inawashiro, Japan, over the previous three weeks; Naeba is the fifth win of his World Cup career. “Every guy making finals; we all train so hard together, pushing each other, and this has taken so long … and it’s just so nice to have all your teammates up on the podium.”

Dawson landed a cork-7, iron cross (off-axis with his skis in an X) and a heli-iron cross (360-degree rotation with his skis in an X).

“At the top, I heard Jeremy was in second and Travis leading, Dave in third, so I had no pressure. No matter what I did,” he said, “I knew we’d swept the podium. It would be a different story if I’d come down third and knocked a teammate off the podium but we’d already swept, so I just skied my run.”

Said Cabral, “It was such a hot day and you could see the snow getting deeper and deeper [in slush] … some places were sticky, the jump transitions were really quick and you had to be on it.”

Babic agreed: “It was a bit intimidating because you’d ski on the top and it’d be slow — they were throwing salt on the jumps [to reduce the melting], so you’d ski a soupy section, come into the jumps really fast. … It was very sticky up top but as soon as you got to the jumps, they were all cleaned nice and it was quick.”

Added Kearney, “It was tough in that the snow was really heavy, but it almost made it easier because it kinda disguised any mistakes. The snow was pretty forgiving.”

Her first win was a nice birthday present, she said: “It’s cool I could win a World Cup before I turn 18.”

Shanley was pleased with her first podium of the season and said the sunshine and warmth made the contest feel “more like nationals … spring-like conditions, super soft snow.” Grabbing a top-three, she said, “will help me relax a little more in these last contests.”

Coach Liz McIntyre said the podium sweep was a goal she and St. Pierre have had for several years. “We wanted to get everyone into finals and we had all the guys in Inawashiro a couple of years ago, and now we’ve kicked over the goal of a podium sweep. This is pretty special,” said McIntyre, a World Cup winner and 1994 Olympic silver medalist before turning to coaching with the ’99 season.

Cabral leads U.S. men to 1-2-4 finish in moguls; Marbler wins women's eventU.S. team's Jeremy Bloom gets first World Cup mogul win of the season

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