Author of Story: Freddy Perryman
Overall World Cup leader Hannah Kearney, celebrated her birthday Saturday winning her sixth World Cup of the season in Marianske Lazne beating rival Jennifer Heil of Canada. Jeremy Cota took third, earning his second World Cup podium of the season.
With clear, cold skies, sugary snow and a crowd of several thousand, the stage was set in Marianske Lazne for a World Cup to remember.
“Today there was a sense of redemption,” said U.S. Freestyle Head Coach Scott Rawles of Kearney. “You could see it in her eyes. She was ready to go today.”
Kearney qualified first, something key to her strategy in giving her the choice of lanes throughout the finals. Kearney blitzed the first heat and the quarterfinals. In the semifinals she earned payback against Canadian Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, who beat her at Worlds, in order to face Heil in the final.
“I learned from my other duals this year and skied more aggressively,” said Kearney. “It obviously paid off. It was really satisfying to win.”
Saturday’s World Cup final was a showdown of giants. Kearney, who has been nearly unstoppable this World Cup season finally had the opportunity to face off against her friend and rival the 2011 individual and dual moguls World Champion Jennifer Heil of Canada.
In the final run, Heil was the first across the line of the short and fast Czech course. Speed wasn’t everything, though, as Kearney’s run was cleaner and more technical. The judges rewarded her the win 19.16.
With her win Saturday, Kearney has firmly cemented her lead in both the overall and moguls World Cup standings. There are three moguls events remaining.
“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.”
On the men’s side, Jeremy Cota led the USA in third adding to what has been his best season with two World Cup podiums and three fourths.
“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.”
“He is tired of finishing just off the podium and did a really good job of putting it together today,” said Rawles.
The U.S. put three men and three women in the top 10. Joining Kearney were Kayla Snyderman in eighth and Eliza Outtrim (Steamboat Springs, CO) in ninth. For the men, Patrick Deneen was eighth with David DiGravio ninth. In his first international World Cup, Jay Panther was 15th.
With six wins, Kearney leads Heil 709-692 in the moguls standings with three events to go. She can clinch the title in Sweden in two weeks.
1. Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada
2. Mikael Kingsbury, Canada
3. Jeremy Cota, Carrabassett Valley, ME
8. Patrick Deneen, Cle Elum, WA
9. David DiGravio, Farmington, ME
12. Nate Roberts, Park City, UT
15. Jay Panther, Park City, UT
17. Joe Discoe, Telluride, CO
24. Sho Kashima, Lake Tahoe, CA
1. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, VT
2. Jennifer Heil, Canada
3. Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, Canada
8. Kayla Snyderman, Winchester, MA
9. Eliza Outtrim, Steamboat Springs, CO
11. Heather McPhie, Bozeman, MT
13. Heidi Klosser, Vail, CO
For complete results: http://www.fis-ski.com/