Breck’s McPhie wins NorAm Cup moguls opener
PARK CITY, Utah – Heather McPhie looked every bit the defending champion at the season-opening NorAm Cup moguls competition this week at Park City, Utah.McPhie, whose NorAm title last winter earned her a berth on the U.S. Ski Team, won the single moguls event on Sunday ahead of 41 competitors hailing from as far away as Japan.The 21-year-old’s 25.66-point score was more than a point better than any other woman in the field. McPhie didn’t ski as well as she hoped at the U.S. Selections at Winter Park earlier this month, but Sunday’s result made up for it.”It just kind of justified to myself that I’m making progress and I’m at the level I want to be at with my skiing,” she said.McPhie, a Breckenridge resident who spent last year skiing for Team Summit, used an almost unmatched degree of difficulty to boost her score. The key component was her D-Spin (off-axis 720), a trick that is rarely thrown by women. She had never attempted it in competition before Selections, and said the lower nerves associated with the NorAm event compared to Selections helped in Utah.McPhie led a group of five current Team Summit freestylers in Park City. Cheryl Pearson finished 12th on Sunday to pace the rest of the local contingent, followed by Lane Stoltzner (21st), Sarah Ruckriegle (26th), Whitney Henceroth (33rd) and Jordan Poyfair (37th).For Stoltzner, the youngest competitor in the field and a recent transplant from Telluride, her result was not as high as it should have been. Team Summit program director and head coach John Dowling, who accompanied the team to Park City, said the judges admitted they made an error by scoring Stoltzner’s run lower than they should have. Stoltzner started early in the field, and the scoring curve rose – as it often does – during the competition’s later stages.Stoltzner wasn’t rattled by the discrepancy. “What she said was, ‘I know I skied well,'” Dowling said. “That’s what’s important to her.”Justin Henceroth took 34th in the 53-skier men’s singles field.Team Summit’s group fared even better Tuesday in the duals competition. Justin Henceroth bounced back from Sunday’s result to finish 11th. He lost to the eventual champion despite skiing his line faster. The NorAm event was the first major competition for Henceroth since he tore his knee apart early last season. “It was definitely a good comeback event for Justin …” Dowling said. “Once his aerial package comes together, he’ll be a real threat.”On the women’s side, Whitney Henceroth matched her brother’s result to the number by finishing 11th. She bowed out to a top competitor from Canada, Dowling said.Ruckriegle made it two Team Summit women to crack the 16-person final round, placing 15th. She was eliminated by a U.S. Ski Team member.The Park City event was the first of five NorAm Cup stops this season, and one of four in the U.S. The circuit also includes events in Idaho, Montana, Vermont and Quebec.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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