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Americans bronzed at Whiteface

January 13, 2017
By JUSTIN A. LEVINE - Sports Writer ( , Lake Placid News

WILMINGTON - Americans Morgan Schild and Bradley Wilson each claimed a bronze medal Friday in the World Cup moguls event at Whiteface Mountain after making it through three rounds of competition on the Wilderness trail above Mid-Station.

Schild, a 19-year-old from Pittsford, earned the third spot on the podium with a score of 72.51 in her super finals run. World Cup No. 1 seed Britteny Cox of Australia claimed the gold medal with a score of 75.27, while France's Perrine Laffont came in second with a score of 74.20.

"It feels unbelievable," Schild said. "It was amazing, (but) I'm gonna be fighting for that No. 1 spot next time."

Article Photos

Morgan Schild flies high through the air during the World Cup moguls competition Friday afternoon at Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington. Schild captured a bronze medal in the event.
(News photo — Justin A. Levine)

Friday's competition was Schild's first World Cup appearance in 22 months. She suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2015 and has spent the past two years recovering and preparing herself for her return to competition. After her qualifying run, Schild slid into the finish corral with a huge smile on her face.

"Today solidified that all my work over the past two years has paid off," Schild said. "All those times where I thought 'why am I doing this, what's the point?' - these are the moments that make the patience worth it. It makes you realize why you loved the sport in the first place, why you love to ski and why you love to represent Team USA."

Wilson, whose brother Bryon won the bronze medal at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, took the third-place slot in the men's competition with a score of 78.08. Kazakhstan's Dmitriy Reiherd won the gold medal with a score of 82.20 and France's Benjamin Cavet took second, scoring 80.73 points.

"It's awesome to podium in the U.S.," Bradley Wilson said. "I mean it's awesome to podium everywhere, but when you get to the finish area and see your score at number one and everyone in the crowd goes nuts, it just means a little more. You get to share it with everyone else, and that's pretty special."

Several racers couldn't complete the course, and Bryon Wilson suffered what appeared to be a serious leg injury during the last run of the day. Canadian sisters Justine, Maxime and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe struggled with the course, with Maxime failing to finish her last run and Chloe and Justine finishing fourth and seventh.

But despite the challenges posed by this week's warm weather and rain and training runs being canceled Thursday, both Schild and Bradley Wilson said they were thrilled with their medal-worthy performances.

"A day off of training the day before the event is always a little nerve-wracking because you want to do some fine-tuning," Schild said. "But today, when we came out in the morning it was super soft, very nice (and) better than we were expecting."

Schild said conditions changed as the day wore on.

"The light went and visually it's really hard to see in those moguls, but you know the moguls are going to be there and you rely on all your training to kick in and that's what kept me here," she said.

Bradley Wilson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2014 and returned to competition in Feb. 2015 with a World Cup win, credited his brother for keeping him in the head space required to win at the international level. Bradley, who was an Olympian at the 2014 Sochi Games, was visibly worried about the elder Wilson, even while trying to bask in the afterglow of a great day of racing.

"This is my first full season back since the injury," Bradley said. "We joke around on the lift, we keep each other in a good mindset. It's mostly just him keeping me in good mindset.

But despite the mental challenge of watching his brother suffer an injury on his final run, Wilson said Bryon will be at the forefront of his thoughts, even while competing.

"I'm definitely going to be thinking about him. Even during my run, I'm just like 'You've gotta fight, you've gotta get it down for him.' Having that relationship with him is just so key for us."We'll get through, and I'll be there for him. Whatever it takes to get him back, because it's fun and whole team benefits from him being there."

Wilson echoed Schild's thoughts on this week's weather, saying that a canceled training day can be a hassle, but things like that happen to all the racers equally.

"It's one of those things where if it happens, it happens to everybody and you just have to go with it," he said. "We knew coming into this event that the course was going to change completely because it was so warm that first day of training and it was freezing today.

"So we just kind of went through the motions to get our confidence up but that day off didn't really affect much."

Competitors took part in two heats in order to earn a spot in the finals. The women's field was whittled down from 32 competitors to 16, with the top six then earning a spot to compete for the podium. The men's field started out at 61, with 45 eliminated from contention after the first run.

Scoring for the race was based on three factors: speed, moguls and jumps. Technical proficiency in the bumps accounts for 60 percent of a racer's score, while speed and the acrobatic jumps make up 20 percent each.

The FIS World Cup moguls competition next moves to Canada for a pair of races in the next two weeks. The Lake Placid World Cup freestyle event continues today at the Olympic Jumping Complex with men's and women's aerials competitions.



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