Brad Wilson shines with silver in Japan

INAWASHIRO, Japan – The World Cup 2011-12 Rookie of the Year, Brad Wilson of Butte, earned his career first podium in single moguls men’s freestyle skiing Friday night with a second-place finish on a slick course.
Wilson was able to stay tight and in control on the fast course and finished only .10 points behind the winner, Mikael Kingsbury of Canada, 23.41 points to 23.31.
U.S. skier Sho Kashima of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., finished a respectable sixth in his first competition back since a knee injury sidelined him last season.
Audrey Robichaud of Canada won the women’s event.
The silver effort was Wilson’s best career finish. His other podium finish was a third place in dual moguls earlier this month.
“I was stoked with second place today at Inawashiro,” the 20-year-old Wilson, a 2011 Butte Central graduate, said on his social media site. “Podium No. 2.”
Wilson’s top air was a back full and his bottom air was a back X. Wilson also won 100,000 Cup points for highest turn scores in finals.
“When I woke up this morning, there was about three to four inches of fresh show on the ground,” Wilson said. “It made the course wet and definitely more difficult to ski. I went out there and was doing my best to ski conservatively and really focus on my turns. I was able to keep my skiing under control and keep my turns clean and tight.
“If you’re a mogul skier you’ve heard of Inawashiro. Everyone knows this course, it’s so difficult — the most difficult course on tour. So to be able to pull out a second place here is pretty sweet. I just focused on skiing my own run. I get in my head sometimes in singles. When I don’t have someone right next to me, pushing me I tend to watch what other people are doing – how fast their going, how big their air was. Today I just focused on my run and that as enough to get me into second place.
Wilson’s older brother Bryon, 24, placed 20th. He was the 2010 Bronze Medalist at the Winter Olympics in moguls and is back on the circuit this season after missing the last campaign while recovering from a serious knee surgery suffered near the end of the 2010-11 World Cup season. A U.S. team spokesman blamed fast snow for causing mistakes in runs by Bryon Wilson and American rookie Dylan Walczyk in the qualification heats,which left them just out of the top 16 finals field. Brad Wilson had qualified 13th.
Eliza Outtrim of Hamden, Conn., was the first U.S. woman, landing in seventh.
Olympic champion Hannah Kearney of Norwich, Vt., failed to make the finals and ended the competition in 23rd after skiing out of her line and landing back in her top air. It was the first competition this season Kearney has worn the yellow bib, reclaiming it after winning the Sochi World Cup last week. The finish put Kearney three points behind Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Canada who reclaimed the lead.
The action continues with a dual moguls competition on Saturday night.
The team is looking ahead to World Championships in Voss, Norway, March 5-10.