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U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix: Top women advance out of pipe semis

Bryce Evans
Summit Daily News

COPPER MOUNTAIN – Heading into Wednesday’s qualifier, Jen Hudak had one thing in mind.

“The goal is to not lose and to not suck,” she said with a laugh. “I always like to win qualifiers, because it gives you a little extra confidence going into finals. But I’ve certainly operated from being not in first place before, so it’s not an issue.”

Although she didn’t quite snag the top-qualifying spot, Hudak easily advanced to the U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix finals with two stellar runs, both of which scored 45.0.

“Today was just about getting to final, and I did that,” she said.

And Hudak was one of 12 women to advance from Wednesday’s 30-skier semifinal at Copper Mountain in what was the first-ever women’s freeski pipe competition in the Grand Prix’s history.

Canadian Rosa Groenewoud led all skiers with a 45.7, which she put down in her first run of the day.

Then, after Hudak, American Devin Logan was third and France’s Anais Caradeux was fourth.

Unfortunately, in the midst of such a banner day for women’s freeskiing, a nasty spill from American Annalise Manley had the crowd and some competitors a little shaken. Manley hit the deck on her third hit and fell deep into the transition. She was down for nearly a dozen minutes and was eventually taken down the hill on a stretcher. Although no one could confirm her injuries, she appeared to be doing OK when taken off the hill.

For the rest of the field, they simply had to put it behind them and concentrate on their runs.

Americans Maddie Bowman and Jamie Crane-Maury both picked up their qualifying score after the crash. Bowman ended up eighth, while Crane-Maury 10th.

Hudak, arguably the top female freeskier in the world, was happy with the type of run she put together, even though she had a little slip out on her second run.

“I was really happy with my (900 on my second run,” she said. “It felt really smooth and my air was pretty big. The alley-oop 500 (later in the run), I need to work on not hopping as much, because I landed really low.

“It’s good to have things to work on going into finals.”

Hudak and Groenewoud will lead that finals group which is slated to kick off its first runs Friday at noon.

The men’s and women’s halfpipe snowboarding open qualifiers are today starting at 8:30 a.m.


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