Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Therer, Deans win overall Nor-Am Cup titles

MT. HOOD MEADOWS, USA (March 26, 2012) – Mariannick Therer and Ian Deans each won overall Nor-Am Cup ski cross titles and secured World Cup spots for next season after two days of racing in Mt. Hood Meadows, USA.

Deans, of Kelowna, B.C., won both Saturday’s and Sunday’s races on the way to the overall title with 664 points. Teammates Robert Lepine, of Whistler, B.C., and Mathieu Leduc, of Comox, B.C., followed in second (535 points) and third (485 points), respectively.

“I feel relieved,” said Deans, 20. “I’ve been stressing about it for a little while as it’s been pretty tight and finally getting it off my chest is a huge relief. I’ve been working towards this all year, so it feels good.”

On Saturday Lepine finished second behind Deans, while Robert Dunn, of Calgary, Alta., was third. On Sunday Leduc was second and France’s Thomas Domenach was third.

“Ian had really good starts both days,” said Alberta Ski Cross coach Stanley Hayer. “Today (Sunday) he won every start except for the final and then he passed in the first trapping section and never looked back. He was just really strong. He looked really focused.

“Deans is already looking forward to the possibilities of next season.

“I got to compete in one of the World Cups this year and it was amazing,” said Deans, who raced in Blue Mountain, Ont. “Just the support from everyone from the national team and allowing me to come with them was absolutely spectacular. If I can partake in that next year, oh I would work so hard to make sure I could stay.”

Therer, of Saint-Sauveur, Que., is in her first season racing ski cross after making the switch from alpine. The 20-year-old, who has battling an injury suffered in the World Cup qualification round in Blue Mountain, needed just five points to take the Nor-Am Cup title. Because of the injury, Therer only competed in Friday’s qualification heats, which was enough to get the necessary points and secure the title. She sat out the rest of the Saturday’s heats and Sunday’s race.

Therer won the title with 596 points ahead of India Sherret, of Cranbrook, B.C., who was second with 525 points, and Whistler’s Sarah Lepine in third with 507 points.

The results in the women’s race were identical on both Saturday and Sunday with Lepine in first, followed by Sherret in second and the USA’s Lesley Wilson in third.

“It was really, really good,” said Lepine, 17. “I was really happy about it, it was my first Nor-Am wins of the year, so I’m really stoked about it.”

Lepine and Sherret, 15, just recently returned form the FIS Freestyle Skiing Junior World Championships, in Valmalenco, Italy, and have been battling each other all season in Nor-Am Cup races and did so again on Sunday.

“The final was close, it was a double pass,” explained Lepine. “I pulled out in front and then she passed me and then I passed her again in the end.”

The girls have formed a close friendship.

“All the girls are great like that. We get to know each other really well and especially me and India, as we just went to world juniors in Italy, so we were rooming together. So if I beat her, she punches me in the shoulder and is pissed off for a minute and then two minutes later we’re best friends again, so it’s fun.”

Lepine, Sherret and Therer were the only three Canadians competing the women’s races this weekend.

On the men’s side several other Canadians saw top-10 results over the two days. Saturday Leduc was fifth, Mate Herauf, of Calgary, Alta., was sixth and Kevin MacDonald, of Mississauga, Ont., was seventh. On Sunday, Robert Lepine was fifth, Herauf was sixth, Dunn was seventh, Whistler’s Tyler Murray was ninth and MacDonald was 10th.

“We have a strong team and the U.S., they see that we’re starting to bump more athletes from their list,” Hayer said. “It was a pretty good year, we pretty much dominated the tour.”

While the ski cross Nor-Am Cup circuit came to a close Saturday, the racers are set to compete in the Sport Chek Ski Cross Canadian Championships from April 5-8 in Nakiska, Alta.