Hannah Kearney returns with a win

WILMINGTON, N.Y. -- Olympic champion Hannah Kearney made a successful return to the moguls World Cup circuit Thursday with a win in the ASANA Freestyle Cup at Whiteface Mountain.

Kearney missed the first two World Cup races this season after fracturing two ribs during a training crash in Switzerland in October.

"I expected myself to pick up where I left off, and I think I did," Kearney said. "I think that's what I'm the most proud of, both with the results and my skiing."

Kearney, of Norwich, Vt., has won the moguls event at Whiteface Mountain four straight years. Last season, she was the overall World Cup leader and set the record for most consecutive World Cup victories in moguls with 16, dating back to the previous season.

"It's hard to watch and not feel like you should be out there," Kearney said. "Today, it made me appreciate every single moment of the day."

Czech skier Nikola Sudova took second place while Australian Britteny Cox was third. American Heather McPhie retained the overall lead in the World Cup standings despite not qualifying for the semifinals. McPhie had won the previous two World Cups this winter.

"Unfortunately, today I just didn't put it down," she said. "I didn't even make finals. I'm definitely disappointed today, but really happy with how I'm doing overall."

Canadian Mikael Kingsbury finished first in the men's competition for the second consecutive year.

"It's not my favorite course, but it's been good to me," Kingsbury said.

Three Americans followed Kingsbury. Patrick Deneen came in second, while Dylan Walczyk finished third in his first World Cup. Bryon Wilson was fourth.

The competition continues Friday and Saturday with aerials at the Olympic Ski Jumping complex in Lake Placid.

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