Wilsons, McPhie go big to rule national moguls

From the United States Ski Team


HEAVENLY, Calif. —  Montanans romped Friday in moguls competition at the United States Freestyle Skiing Championships as Butte brothers Brad and Bryon Wilson went one-two in the men’s final standings, and Heather McPhie of Bozeman repeated as the women’s division champion.

Brad Wilson, 20,  took his his first U.S. crown winning over brother Bryon, 24, with Tahoe area favorite Sho Kashima, from South Lake Tahoe, Calif., taking bronze.

World Cup titlist Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT) was second for women with Eliza Outtrim third. The Championships close Saturday with both dual moguls and aerials.

Heather McPhie (Bozeman, MT) opened the Sprint U.S. Freestye Championships at Heavenly with gold, repeating the title she won a year ago at Stratton Mountain, VT.

Wilson threw a double full on the top air and a huge back iron cross on the bottom air on the way to his win.

“To be national champion is huge,” the 2011 Butte Central graduate said., “It’s another accomplishment to have under my belt. I had my Junior Worlds title and a World Cup victory but not U.S. Champion, so this means a lot. This event always brings you back to the freestyle roots and what freestyle is about. It’s different than a World Cup and I couldn’t be happier. I was really liking the vibe out there today. When I remember to have fun I’m usually really happy with my results.

“It’s about 60 degrees here, the course was slushy and soupy but it got a lot better as the day went on. The staff and crew here did a great job making this a great event.“

Bryon Wilson, a 2006 Butte High graduate, was the 2010 Winter Olympics Bronze Medalist in men’s moguls.

Hannah Kearney, of Norwich, Conn., fresh from winning the season World Cup title, took silver in the women’s race with Eliza Outtrim, of Hamden, Conn., bronze.

McPhie did a layout on her top air with her traditional D-spin on the bottom — huge air and perfect landing — for the win.

“This is such an amazing way to end the season with a win,” McPhie said. “I’ve been sick all week and I really had to dig deep today to pull out the win. There is so much depth on our team and you really see it at an event like this. To be up on the podium again with Hannah and Eliza is something that is just so unbelievable.

“I  was standing at the bottom with Eliza saying, wow we could do this again. The course has similarities to what we experienced in Sochi and I just kept reminding myself that.”

Sochi, Russia, will be the venue for the 2014 Winter Games moguls events.

Weather created challenges with rare fog and ice delaying the start Friday morning.

“It was a warm day, the course was soft but I was just working on getting my speed, charging out of the gate and really get some speed through the middle section,” Koshima said. “My recovery has been long but my skiing feels good and I finally feel like I’m back to the skiing I know I can do. Skiing in front of the home crowd, my family, friends, doctors, sponsors, everyone who enables me to be able to do what I love is a great feeling.

“And being able to put on a show for them after all the support they’ve given me is awesome.”