Loughran and Novak Lead USA Aerialists
Eric Loughran (Pelham, N.H.) and Nick Novak (Prince William, Va.) led the charge for the U.S. athletes in Saturday night’s aerials finals at the Putnam Investments Freestyle Cup. It was the final World Cup of the 2017-18 season. Loughran posted his best finish of the season so far in eighth place while Novak made his first World Cup finals and finished 10th. Maddie Varmette (Stafford, Va.) was awarded the 2018 FIS Rookie of the Year award.
The men’s finals competition was once against stacked with a group of very talented jumpers. Russia’s Maxim Burov took home the win followed by Belarusian Anton Kushnir in second and Japan’s Naoya Tabara in third. On the women’s side, Mengtao Xu claimed her second victory of the season. Australia’s Lydia Lassila and Laura Peel landed their second round of podiums this week, finishing second and third. None of the U.S. women made it into finals.
The overall World Cup titles were awarded to Burov and Xu. China took home the Nations Cup, awarded to the team with the highest World Cup points across all competitions, followed by Belarus and Australia. Varmette, who made her first super finals at the Visa Freestyle International last week in Deer Valley, received the rookie of the year award based on coach’s nomination and voting. She finished 26th in Saturday’s competition.
Next up on the aerials competition calendar is the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PeyongChang, South Korea. With all Olympic selection events in the books, the U.S. team headed to PyeongChang will be announced next week.