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Moguls update: Hannah Kearney, top qualifier

February 13, 2010 |  7:15 pm

Kearney_300 Canada vs. the United States.

Not in men’s or women’s hockey … but in the women’s moguls final on Saturday night at Cypress Mountain. It begins in about 30 minutes and the rain is coming down quite hard now.

All four of the American entrants made it out of the qualification round: Hannah Kearney (first), Heather McPhie (third), Shannon Bahrke (sixth) and Michelle Roark (seventh). Pre-race favorite Jennifer Heil of Canada qualified between Kearney and McPhie, and Canadian teammate Kristi Richards qualified fourth.

Just call it a North American scrimmage.

Twenty-seven skiers were in qualifying and 20 made the final -- just think about it like the cut to make the NHL playoffs.

There had been some talk about possibly having the finals rescheduled for a later date because of inclement weather but the start list for the final was released shortly before 6 p.m. (LOCAL TIME)

Rain came down most of the afternoon, along with wind gusts, but conditions actually seemed to improve near the end of the qualification round. Earlier in the day, snowboardcross training was canceled.

Kearney talked about the impact the weather had on the course.

“It’s making the middle section pretty fast,” she said. “The moisture is falling out of the sky and making the middle section slick. So it’s fast and it’s going to make it an exciting event.”

An excited McPhie was even more effusive about conditions.

“Great. Awesome. The rain is really not an issue,” she said. “The snow is really great right now. It’s really fun out there.”

Kearney, who failed to qualify for the final in Turin, Italy, four years ago, felt she made one error in her run this afternoon.

“I had a little break in my helicopter on that bottom air,” she said. “You know that instant replay (here) is really nice because I was able to analyze my form.”

-- Lisa Dillman, Reporting from Vancouver, Canada

Photo: American Hannah Kearney catches air during her moguls qualification run Saturday. Credit: Bela Szandelszky