In the opening event to the 2011/2012 freestyle World Cup season, which heralded the introduction of a new points format with qualifying and finals, the tenacious 17-year-old finished 14th in a quality field of 33 women.
The event was won by America’s current Olympic gold medalist and former world champion Hannah Kearney, who backed up her win in the season opener in Ruka last year, ahead of compatriot Eliza Outtrim and Czech veteran Nikola Sudova.
Giving away valuable international experience and physical development to almost the entire field in the final, Cox, who is in the second year of her Australian Institute of Sport / NSW Institute of Sport scholarship, delivered a resounding performance with her jumps but with a speed of 27.04 seconds down the infamous 213-metre Battery Run, she was unable to finish higher in the results.
With Kearney’s time of 24.70 second and a course pace time of 25.97 seconds, Cox and AIS mogul skiing program head coach Steve Desovich know exactly what two things the teenager from Victoria’s Mount Beauty needs to work on to take her career to its potential.
“As a coach you always push harder and harder for more but the fact that she made the final for the first time meant that her performance was a solid grade today,” a pleased Desovich said.
“There are ongoing issues to work on to be a top 10. She has a way to go with speed but as she gets older she will get stronger.”
The need for speed is also immediately acknowledged by Cox and in fact she threw caution to the wind at some stages in Ruka but this was at a cost of technical efficiency.
In the men’s event, another Australian teenager, Matt Graham missed the final but finished in 26th place in a field of 51 athletes. This was also a personal best World Cup performance for Matt, improving on his World Cup debut result of 27th in 2010.
Canadian Mikael Kingsbury was victorious, ahead of American Sho Kashima and Frenchman Anthony Benna.
Desovich said that he was pleased with Graham’s qualifying run and like Cox, he needs to work on speed.
Graham pushed hard throughout his qualifying run but his lack of World Cup experience resulted in a mistake which saw the 17-year-old from Gosford in NSW, miss a jump and lose any hope of making the final.
The moguls team now heads to Steamboat, Colorado, USA, for the US Selection Events, with the team rejoining the World Cup circuit in January.