MEGEVE, France – Butte mogulist Bryon Wilson completed an impressive finish and Olympic champion Hannah Kearney of Norwich, Vermont, capped her illustrious World Cup skiing career with a storybook finish, winning the season finale dual moguls for her 46th career victory Sunday at the World Cup Championships meet.
Wilson was fourth in men’s dual moguls on Sunday to wind up the season 10th in the World Cup men’s mogul standings. He was also 27th in the World Cup freestyle overall standings for all 240-plus contestants competing in the different types of freestyle disciplines.
Wilson, 26, is a 2006 Butte High graduate and was the Bronze Medalist in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Kearney matched the record held since 1997 by fellow American Olympic champion Donna Weinbrecht. She also walked away with both the FIS Freestyle World Cup moguls and overall crystal globes.
“Getting the record is huge,” said Kearney in an article posted by usskiteam.org . “To me, it’s almost perfect. Records are important to me because I think they are a testament to your training and results. Being even in the same category as Donna is huge. I never would have guessed that I would be compared to her.
Coming in to the final World Cup, Kearney had the moguls crystal globe locked down, but the overall globe was still up in the air, with Kearney’s competition racing just a few runs over in Megeve.
“It was a fairytale ending, to win both globes. I was watching the ski cross finishes because they were right next to ours. Anna Holmlund had won the last two days and as a result pulled ahead of me in the overall standings. So today I had to win in order to get that overall title. I was very aware of that. I just knew I had to ski well, so that was what I was focusing on. I just skied straight forward, and my turns really won it for me today.”
“I first met Hannah Kearney at a Spring camp in 2002 at the end of my career — a teenager with school books in tow and the drive to become a great moguls skier,” said Weinbrecht Sunday as she headed out onto the slopes at Killington (Vermont) with her family. “I saw her evolve to the point where she took control of the sport pushing the envelope of moguls skiing.
“I was so happy and proud then and am absolutely delighted now, to be sharing the record for World Cup wins with such an accomplished athlete. Well done, Hannah! What a fantastic time for U.S. freestyle skiing”
Kearney kept her focus throughout the day. She had a bye in the round of 32, then faced teammate Mikaela Matthews of Vail, Colorado in the round of 16. She advanced to the quarterfinals where faced another teammate, K.C. Oakley of Piedmont, California. She earned her spot into the finals with a win over Canada’s Andi Naude. Her toughest matchup came in the final run of the day, facing Olympic silver medalist Chloe Dufour-Lapointe of Canada.
Anthony Benna of France won the men’s moguls by defeating American Thomas Rowley of Long Beach, New York, in the final. Alexandr Smyshlyaev of Russia took the third spot on the podium with Wilson just missing with a fourth.
Rowley was proclaimed the men’s rookie of the year on the World Cup moguls circuit while American Morgan Schild was crowned the women’s rookie of the year.
With the 2015 World Cup tour in the books, the U.S. team will compete at the U.S. Freestyle Championships in Steamboat Springs, CO before officially closing out the season.
Wilson’s younger brother, Brad, 22, a 2011 Butte Central graduate and 2014 Winter Olympian, continues to recover from a knee injury suffered just prior to the start of the World Cup season. He had surgery to repair a torn ACL and is rehabbing the knee with hopes of rejoining Team USA for next season’s World Cup circuit.