Kearney Third in Duals World Cup Opener
RUKA, Finland (Dec. 13, 2014) – In the first dual moguls World Cup of the season, Olympic Champion Hannah Kearney claimed her 64th World Cup podium with a third place finish in Ruka. Kearney narrowly missed advancing to the final dual, getting edged out by Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva. In just his second World Cup appearance, Thomas Rowley skied to a strong fourth place finish for the men.
“Today went well for our teams,” said Head moguls coach Garth Hager. “We definitely trained better than we competed on this course, but dual moguls is always exciting and anything can happen.”
Kearney skied well all day, losing her semi-final dual by only one point. Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva threw a front flip on the bottom jump, increasing her speed and propelling her over the finish line just in front of Kearney.
“Overall, I feel good about today,” said Kearney. “I’ll have to ski a little bit fast in my next semi-final run. Of course you always want to win, but after I lost that first dual, I instantly wanted to get back up in the start gate and ski again. That feeling confirms that I made the right decision to ski one more season.”
Recent duals competition have seen athletes ski a solo 'seeding run' to determine their rank for the duals portion of the competition. This year's Ruka event was a little different, with the athletes competing in head-to-head competition from the outset. Athletes were seeded according to their placing on last year’s final moguls World Cup rankings. They each then would attempt to win their dual and make their way through the bracket.
Kearney, Mikaela Matthews and Keaton McCargo advanced to the round of 16 for the women while Rowley, Dylan Walczyk and Jeremy Cota advanced to the round of 16 for the men. Kearney and Rowley then moved on to claim the top finishes for the U.S.
“I’m happy with my finish today,” said Rowley. “The course was challenging and a little rough towards the end.” After teammate Brad Wilson suffered a knee injury during training, Rowley stepped up to the plate, making the trip over to Ruka just in time for training. “I had a good few days of training, so I felt good going into the competition.”
With the first World Cup of the season behind them, athletes will be heading home for the holidays or out to Winter Park, CO for U.S. Selections. World Cup action resumes after the New Year with the men and women’s moguls competition in Calgary on Jan. 4th.
“Everyone is excited to be skiing again,” said Kearney. “We are all very motivated and can’t wait to ski at Calgary.”
- This was the 64th career podium for Hannah Kearney, who has 42 World Cup wins and is chasing the moguls mark of 46 wins held by Donna Weinbrecht.
- Thomas Rowley, who was a last-minute fill-in for injured Bradley Wilson, finished fourth in only his second World Cup appearance.
- The World Cup opener for individual moguls is Jan. 4 in Calgary, Canada before the tour heads to Utah's Deer Valley Resort Jan. 8-10.
Hannah Kearney, Third Place
Overall, I feel good about today. I’ll have to ski a little bit fast in my next semi-final run. Of course you always want to win, but after I lost that first dual, I instantly wanted to get back up in the start gate and ski again. My heart was pounding in the start gate.
There was a bit of back and forth on whether or not I made the right decision, coming back for another season, but the way I felt skiing today confirmed that I did.
With the new format we used today, I actually got to watch the men’s first runs. They skied well. Everyone is excited to be skiing again. We are all hungry and motivated. We wish we could ski again before Calgary.
Thomas Rowley, Top U.S. Men’s Finisher
I’m happy with my finish today. The course was a little rough and challenging towards the end. I had a good few days of training, so I felt good going into the competition.
Garth Hager, Head Moguls Coach
Today went well for our teams. We trained better than we competed, but dual moguls competitions are exciting and unpredictable, and anything goes. Hannah skied great in all of her duals. With Yulia completing a front flip on the bottom jump, she got beat across the finish line. For Calgary, we will work on keeping our runs cleaner, with the men looking to throw some bigger tricks on the top jumps.