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Lahtela, Traa capture moguls events at Finals; Babic, Kearney on podium for U.S.

Lahtela, Traa capture moguls events at Finals; Babic, Kearney on podium for U.S.{mosimage}Fresh snow and clear skies served up a perfect ending to the moguls season Sunday in Sauze d’Oulx high in the Italian Alps.

Janna Lahtela and Kari Traa won the one-run final while Lahtela and Canadian Jennifer Heil claimed the overall globes.

Lahtela held off good runs by second-place Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau and American David Babic to earn his fifth win of the season.

“I’m happy with my run. I started the season with the same tricks — two off-axis 720s. I won the first competition and I won the last competition and I had the yellow bib for most of the season, what can I say?” Lahtela said. “There were some ups and downs along the way, it’s a lot of competitions. You can’t win every event.”

It was a good day for the Americans despite the top four men’s skiers out with injuries. Babic took third in the men’s event and Hannah Kearney finished second in the women’s.

Babic and Kearney were both coming off their first respective career victories the previous weekend in Switzerland and Kearney said she had the momentum on her side. “I had good training all week and I had pretty high expectations. I wanted to move up from my No. 4 bib and I did, but the win would have been nice,” said Kearney, who pulled a heli-cross on top and a helicopter on the bottom jump.

“My run wasn’t the best I could have had. I wanted to go big on the top air and I think I rushed my trick a little bit and I landed a little over-rotated,” Babic said. “It took me a couple of turns to get my feet back under me. I went big on the second jump and that’s what sold me to the judges.”

Heil had the overall clinched before skiing to fifth. Traa won her fifth event of the season but fell 37 points shy of Heil in the hunt for the overall globe. Austrian Margarita Marbler took third Sunday and finished third overall.

On the men’s side, Toby Dawson, Jeremy Bloom, Travis Cabral and Luke Westerlund — sitting second, third, fourth and eighth respectively in the overall — all missed the finals due to injuries.

According to the U.S. Ski Team, Dawson broke his left leg last Monday in a warm-up for a World Cup halfpipe event in Les Contamines, France, while defending World Cup moguls champion Cabral went home to have his knee examined after tweaking it in the moguls event in Airolo, Switzerland.

Bloom, meanwhile, underwent routine arthroscopic surgery by Dr. Vern Cooley at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Salt Lake City to clean-out debris and relieve intense pain. Westerlund was scheduled to undergo further examinations on his left shoulder, which was dislocated February 22 in Naeba, Japan.

Nathan Roberts scuttled his landing on his second jump while trying out a new off-axis 720 move. Babic skied aggressively to take third after nailing both of his jumps cleanly and ripping the middle section of the course.

“I came off the top jump and landed very nicely, I was kind of set up in a bad spot in the course and blasted through the first mogul. I had to save myself,” Babic said. “The way I skied through the middle section of the course, I was really pleased with that.”

Freestyle World Cup Finals
Sauze d’Oulx, Italy
March 14, 2004
Men’s Moguls

1. Janne Lahtula (Fin): 27.22
2. Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau (Can): 25.92
3. David Babic (USA): 25.44
4. Tapio Lussua (Fin): 24.92
5. Sami Mustonen (Fin): 24.82
Also:
7. Marc-Andre Moreau (Can): 24.00
8. Garrett Simm (Can): 22.89
10. Nathan Roberts (USA): 19.19

Men’s Final Standings
1. Janne Lahtula (Fin): 891 pts
2. Toby Dawson (USA): 650
3. Jeremy Bloom (USA): 556
4. Travis Cabral (USA): 520
5. Nathan Roberts (USA): 486
6. Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau (Can): 448
7. David Babic (USA): 440
8. Luke Westerlund (USA): 417
9. Tapio Lussua (Fin): 404
10. Marc-Andre Moreau (Can): 373
Also:
12. Jim Schiman (Can): 319
17. Ryan Riley (USA): 188
26. Brady Johnson (USA): 111
27. Jean Francois Therrien (Can): 98
28. Travis Mayer (USA): 90
30. Warren Tanner (Can): 84
31. Chris Wong (Can): 82
34. Tim Preston (USA): 73
40. Vincent Marquis (Can): 40
48. Camil Matar (Can): 13
53. Stephane Agnard (Can): 9

Women’s Moguls
1. Kari Traa (Nor): 26.14
2. Hannah Kearney (USA): 25.47
3. Margarita Marbler (Aut): 24.75
4. Laurel Shanley (USA): 24.02
5. Jennifer Heil (Can): 23.89
Also:
6. Michelle Roark (USA): 23.82
8. Jillian Vogtli (USA): 23.59
9. Emiko Torito (USA): 22.98
11. Alison Levy (USA): 19.27

Women’s Final Standings
1. Jennifer Heil (Can): 940 points
2. Kari Traa (Nor): 867
3. Margarita Marbler (Aut): 764
4. Hannah Kearney (USA): 665
5. Shannon Bahrke (USA): 494
6. Jillian Vogtli (USA): 463
7. Laurel Shanley (USA): 452
8. Stephanie St. Pierre (Can): 430
Also:
11. Michelle Roark (USA): 373
12. Emiko Torito (USA): 330
15. Shelly Robertson (USA): 228
17. Elisa Kurylowicz (Can): 222
18. Sylvia Kerfoot (Can): 212
19. Jennifer Simm (Can): 205
27. Kelly Ringstad (Can): 73
35. Alison Levy (USA): 20
36. Kathryn Bodzioch (USA): 19
43. Lauren Crawford (USA): 4

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