The U.S. team dominated Wednesday’s moguls event at the FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships in Valmalenco, Italy.
On the women’s side, Keaton McCargo, of Telluride, and Morgan Schild, of Vail, went one-two for the stars and stripes in a very tight final where the top-5 athletes scored all within a range of 1.05. French Perinne Laffont (21.50) rounded out the podium as third thus preventing the US team from a podium sweep as Nessa Dziemian (USA; 21.41) finished in fourth with her fellow countrywoman Ali Kariotis (21.11) placing fifth.
“I tried to compete similarly to the way I did last year,” said McCargo. “To have fun and remember why I’m skiing in the first place and that’s to have fun. The field has been really strong both years so I’m really happy that I was able to ski well through each round, and rely on my skiing when it counted. Looking ahead I want to remember to keep skiing the way I have been which is aggressively and remember to have fun.”
In the men’s competition, Telluride’s Thomas Rowley, the sole U.S. athlete to start in the finals of the best six, nailed a superb second run earning the high score of 24.36 and thus a well-deserved title. With the 19-year-old Coloradan bringing home gold, the U.S. team even topped their last two results at Junior World Championships.
“The course was skiing really well today,” said Rowley. “My first run felt really good and I was abel to ski fast and keep that momentum moving through all the rounds. I was confident in my training earlier in the day and I just wanted to go out there, trust my skiing and have fun. Hopefully i’ll ski well at selections and earn some World Cup starts.”
“It’s great at a big event like Jr. World’s to be able to see these young athletes rise to the occasion and see the future of the team in front of our eyes,” said Scott Rawles, head moguls coach. “World’s has always been a great stepping stone for athletes like Hannah Kearney who won gold there to go on and do incredible things in our sport.”
The men’s podium was completed by Benjamin Cavet (FRA, 23.58) and Egor Anufriev (RUS, 23.37), who secured the fifth medal for his home country within two competition days, as second and third respectively.