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Rocky Mountain College's Lisa Hiltula

Rocky Mountain College's Lisa Hiltula won the giant slalom competition Friday at the Annual Stano Cup at Red Lodge Mountain.

CASEY PAGE, Gazette Staff

RED LODGE — Sean McCormick and Lisa Hiltula started strong and stayed strong, winning the individual giant slalom races Friday to start the Stano Cup for the Rocky Mountain College ski team.

The annual event continues Saturday with another round of giant slalom competition and finishes Sunday with slalom races on Red Lodge Mountain.

The event is also a national qualifier for junior skiers.

Both the Rocky men and women had 1-2-3-4 finishes.

The Battlin' Bears are the defending national champions for both men and women.

“It couldn’t have gone any better,” said Battlin’ Bears coach Jerry Wolf. “We pick them by seed of when we want them to ski and they all finished that way.”

McCormick, a junior from Vail, Colorado, opened with a run of 48.38 seconds, almost a full second better than teammate Elias Holmlund. McCormick finished with a two-run time of 1:36.58, while Holmlund was second in 1:37.49. Holmlund had the fastest time for the second run, edging McCormick by one-hundredth of a second.

“Sean came out strong,” Wolf said. “I think he kind of likes that No. 1 spot. He’s always been the No. 3, No. 4 guy. Now that he’s got that No. 1 spot, he’s got to try and hold it.”

Adam Ahlin (1:38.37) was third and Adam Garrigus (1:41.08) was fourth for Rocky.

Hiltula, a freshman from Sweden, started with a first run of 50.62 seconds, almost a full second better than teammate Camille Virelaude. Hiltula won with a two-run time of 1:40.93, while Virelaude was second in 1:41.81.

“Lisa skied really smooth, super clean,” said Wolf. “It was nice to see her ski that clean. You can always push to go faster when you ski that clean.”

Susan Beks was third (1:42.34) and Emeline Lafarge fourth (1:43.41) for the Battlin’ Bears. Beks had the best second-run time by two-tenths of a second. Linnea Baysinger was sixth (1:44.9) for Rocky.

The collegiate portion of the event also featured skiers from Montana State and the University of Utah.