Americans Heather McPhie and Michelle Roark two and three at Deer Valley Freestyle World Cup, Heil wins

Posted By: The Ski Channel on January 16, 2010 9:26 pm

Heather McPhie clinched her U.S. Olympic Team spot Saturday night as she nabbed her second career podium, claiming the silver at the Visa Freestyle International World Cup moguls event at Deer Valley. McPhie won the gold just two days earlier, in a tie with Canadian 2006 Olympic gold medalist Jennifer Heil. Heil again clinched gold on the Champion course, in front of a crowd of thousands. of cheering fans. U.S. Freestyle Ski Team veteran Michelle Roark finished third, making her one step closer to Vancouver.

Ever humble and gracious, McPhie remained calm as she again sat in first place and watched the remaining women ski–all of whom have seen the top of the World Cup podium. “I felt confident from my Thursday win but these girls are so strong, so good… We’re all good enough to be on top,” McPhie said as she stood in the finish area. “I was super thankful to end up there the other night. We’ll see what happens. We have a lot of great skiers to go.”

McPhie was bumped to second by Heil, yet retained her podium position.

Roark also stole the show, with her first podium of the season. One of the Olympic qualifying criterium is a top-three World Cup finish, and McPhie and Shannon Bahrke each had nabbed one before tonight’s competition. The U.S. Freestyle Ski Team is so strong, so Roark really had to shine. The Winter Park, CO skier literally attacked the course and solidly landed her airs to grab her podium position. “I’ve got Toby Dawson the Olympic medalist helping me out with carving my turns and going faster,” Roark said.

The U.S. Olympic Team will be announced on January 26–after the Lake Placid World Cup next week. Roark sits behind Bahrke in the World Cup moguls standings, so is gunning for the fourth Team spot. If she repeats her Deer Valley performance, she’ll head to Vancouver. 

Fellow U.S. Freestyle Ski Team ladies Hannah Kearney and Bahrke also skied well, finishing fourth and fifth respectively.

On the men’s side, it was again a slightly disappointing round for the Americans. Newcomer Jeremy Cota topped things off for the U.S. Team, landing a huge back full-twisting flip and nabbing one of the fastest times of the night. Cota finished sixth, which was fantastic. 2009 World Champion Pat Deneen skied a clean, fast run, but finished ninth. Jimmy Discoe followed in 11th with Bryon Wilson skiing off course and taking 14th. Mike Morse, who is the second-ranked American on the overall in seventh (behind Wilson who is currently fifth) frustratingly just missed qualifying for the finals, and finished 17th. 

The athletes now head to Lake Placid early Sunday morning to continue their Olympic push.

photo: Kelly