It was another encouraging result by the Australian Institute of Sport / NSW Institute of Sport athlete, who’s season results include eighth in the World Championships earlier this month and three top 10 World Cup places.
Fellow AIS / NSWIS squad member and World Cup winner Scott Kneller also recorded an encouraging result by finishing 14th, his best performance since last December, when he placed seventh in Innichen / San Candido, Italy.
Kneller, who has been effected by a virus for the last month, showed signs of returning to the form he is capable of with the 13th best time in the qualification session in Are, a win in the round of 32 before a racing incident ended his day in the quarter finals.
Frenchman Jean Frederic Chapuis won the event, followed by Armin Niederer from Switzerland and France’s Sylvain Miailler in third.
The women’s final saw Swiss skiers, Fanny Smith and Katrin Mueller, occupy first and third places while Canadian Marielle Thompson secured the silver medal.
AIS ski cross head coach Matt Lyons said he was pleased with the results of Crema, Kneller, world number 12 Anton Grimus, who finished in 20th place despite the after-effects of a crash the previous day, and Sami Kennedy-Sim, who was 19th and unlucky not to make the finals.
“It was a pretty good day today,” Lyons said.
“Katya fought really hard with some good passing to get there but there were some good signs for the future for all of them.
“Scott skied a lot better than he has for the last month. His first round was really good and aggressive, which was the Scotty we saw in December and the Scotty we want to see in the future.”
On the first day of competition in Are, Anton Grimus was 14th, Scott Kneller 19th, Katya Crema 15th and Sami Kennedy Sim was 23rd.
With only Kennedy-Sim competing in the last World Cup ski cross of the season in Sierra Nevada, Spain, next Sunday, Lyons has started his review of the season and believes that each of the squad members has improved in a number of key areas.
“The standard has increased across the board and they have managed to keep pace with that, and depending on who you are talking about, some have improved on that.
“The sport is growing and it is definitely getting tougher at the top. Anybody in the top 32 for the men can win on a given day and anybody in the top 20 with the girls can do the same.
“There are definitely some positives and obviously we have a lot of work to do and we’ll get stuck into that as soon as they have had their break.
“They have a couple of weeks of not too much and then a couple of weeks of unstructured activity and then they’ll get back into the gym.”
Lyons also said that Australia’s domestic season will play an important part in their build up to Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and a full World Cup program starting towards the end of this year.