March 1, 2006
JISAN FOREST, South Korea (USST Press Release)—World champion Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT) finished third and World Cup rookie David Digravio (Farmington, ME) reached his first podium Wednesday as the World Cup moguls schedule resumed after the Olympics.
Olympic champions and current World Cup leaders Jennifer Heil of Canada and Australian Dale Begg-Smith each won their competition. Heil had 27.45 points while 2002 Olympic gold medalist Kari Traa of Norway (26.93) while Kearney, gold medalist at the World Championships last March in Finland, had 26.33.
Two other U.S. women finished in the top 10 with Jillian Vogtli (Ellicotville, NY) ninth and Michelle Roark (Winter Park, CO) 10th.
Begg-Smith clinched the World Cup title with his victory, his fifth of the season. He had 26.55 points to edge Guilbaut Colas of France (25.44). Digravio was not far behind, finishing third at 26.25 and David Babic (Washington, VT) took fourth place with 25.91.
"This isn't an easy course - it's straight, pretty easy and you have to be on your game because there's no room to make up for any mistakes. So, it was a little bit of a Cinderella story for Digravio, Coach Donnie St. Pierre said, "and a nice reward for his hard work this season. And for the other David; he was disappointed about missing the Olympic Team, of course, but Babic also laid down a nice run in finals and wasn't far off the podium.
"And Hannah got back on the horse after her frustrations at the Olympics, leading three Americans into the top 10. She's not done yet this season.
"It was wonderful. I felt like I won, even though I was third, said Kearney, who returned home from Torino for about a week of relaxation and to catch an early celebration for her 20th birthday, which came Sunday. She threw a backflip off the top jump and a helicopter (360-degree rotation) at the bottom of her run.
She was particularly pleased because she has been working on a new technique on her backflip, keeping her hands more forward on takeoff,
"This was a big breakthrough because I've struggled with the new technique. This is only my second competition with the different takeoff, she said.[pagebreak]The World Cup moguls schedule heads next to Inawashiro, Japan, for another competition Sunday. The season concludes March 19 in Canada during World Cup Finals at Apex, B.C. The Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships are scheduled for March 23-26 at Killington, Vt.
FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
Jisan Forest Resort, KOR - March 1, 2006
Moguls (16 make finals)
1. Dale Begg-Smith, Austrialia, 26.55 points
2. Gilbaut Colas, France, 26.44
3. David Digravio, Farmington, Maine, 26.25
4. David Babic, Washington, Vt., 25.91
5. (tie) Sami Mustonen, Finland, and Pierre Ochs, France, 25.79 each
28. Tim Preston, Campton, N.H.,
1. Jennifer Heil, Canada, 27.45
2. Kari Traa, Norway, 26.93
3. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, Vt., 26.33
4. Stephanie St. Pierre, Canada, 25.51
5. Helena Soduva, Czech Republic, 25.28
9. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, N.Y., 24.88
10. Michelle Roark, Denver, 24.70
13. Shelly Robertson, Reno, Nev., 24.17
15. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, Calif., 23.77
21. Emiko Torito, Denver
24. Eliza Outtrim, Hamden, Conn.