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Mogul skiers shut out in Japan

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Aleisha Cline first in skier cross

In the past five World Cup contests, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team has claimed 21 medals, putting athletes on the podium at every location. That medal run came to an end last weekend at Naeba, Japan with the moguls team landing just short of the podium.

The weekend wasn’t a complete bust, however – three mogul skiers made it to the finals in the top-12, and Squamish skier Aleisha Cline once again found herself on top in the skier cross competition.

Skier cross is new to the World Cup freestyle circuit this year, along with halfpipe and tabletop, but Canada does not yet support a formal skier cross team.

Cline was followed by Magdalena Iljans of Sweden and Seraina Murk of Switzerland.

In the men’s skier cross, Whistler’s Davey Barr was the top Canadian in 14 th place. The win went to Hiroomi Takizawa of Japan, followed by Massimiliano Iezza of Italy and Jesper Brugge of Sweden.

In the moguls competition the following day, Jennifer Heil of Spruce Grove, Alberta held onto her number one status on the World Cup circuit with a seventh place finish. "I’m definitely disappointed," said Heil, 20. "It’s the second time ever that I’ve qualified first in the semi-finals and it’s something I’m not used to and need more practice at.

"To me it’s a different game and I’m learning to be hunted."

There are three events left this season, and Heil leads four-time World Champion Kari Traa of Norway by just 71 points.

Jennifer Simm of Prince George also qualified, and finished 10 th overall.

Whistler’s Sylvia Kerfoot just missed the finals, finishing in 13 th place for the third time this year. She has at least been consistent from week to week and currently sits 20 th overall in the World Cup standings.

Hannah Kearney and Laurel Shanley of the U.S. claimed the gold and bronze medals, while second went to Margarita Marbler of Austria.

In the men’s moguls, Jim Schiman of Cranbrook and Marc-Andre Moreau of Chambly, Quebec, were only Canadian to ski in the finals, finishing eighth and 11 th respectively.

For the second time this season the strong U.S. team swept the podium, with Toby Dawson taking the gold, Travis-Antone Cabral the silver and Jeremy Bloom a bronze.

Also from the Canadian team, Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau of Drummondville, Quebec was 15 th and Warren Tanner of Grimsby, Ontario was 20 th .

The freestyle World Cup continues at Spindleruv Mlyn in the Czech Republic this weekend with both moguls and aerials events.

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