Bethel native Simon Dumont scored a season-best fourth-place finish Sunday at the FIS Freestyle World Cup/Visa Grand Prix ski halfpipe event at Breckenridge, Colo.

The effort advanced the 27-year-old graduate of Telstar Regional High School halfway to the U.S. Olympic selection criteria of having two top-three finishes in World Cup events.

The event was the third of five races being used by the U.S. Olympic freeskiing team to select competitors for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, in February. The fourth and fifth selection events will both be in Park City, Utah, this week, concluding next Sunday.

Dumont did not compete in the first selection race in Breckenridge, Colo., due to injury, then scored a fifth-place finish at Copper Mountain, Colo., in late December.

David Wise, the two-time reigning Winter X Games champion and reigning world champion, clinched a U.S.Olympic Team berth by winning Sunday’s Breckenridge event. Aaron Blunck, a 17-year-old phenom from Crested Butte, Colo., also has achieved the qualification criteria with a win at Copper Mountain as well as a second-place finish at the first Breckenridge event.

Up to three men’s halfpipe skiers with at least two top-three results in Olympic selection events will clinch Olympic berths. If there are more than three, they go into tiebreaker rankings.

The ski halfpipe is slated to make its Olympic debut this year, as are ski slopestyle and snowboard slopestyle. The U.S. team rosters are slated to be announced in late January.

Cota 34th in World Cup moguls race

Patrick Deneen of Cle Elum, Wash., was the top U.S. finisher Saturday in the men’s ski moguls race at the Visa Freestyle International FIS World Cup event in Deer Valley, Utah.

Fellow American Sho Kashima of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., finished sixth in the race, one of several events that are doubling as U.S. Olympic team qualifiers.

Saturday’s race was won by Canadian Alex Bilodeau.

Three Maine competitors also were in the field. Greenville native Jeremy Cota placed 34th overall and sixth among the American contingent, while Dave DiGravio of Farmington was 37th overall and seventh among Americans and Troy Murphy was 46th overall and eighth among U.S. racers.

Murphy had finished fifth in a companion World Cup event at Deer Valley on Friday, with Cota placing 19th and DiGravio 27th.

The U.S. men have two more chances to seal their two required FIS World Cup podium finishes for U.S. Olympic team qualification. The moguls team heads to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the USANA Freestyle Cup Jan. 15 and then Val St. Come, Quebec, on Jan. 19 for the last remaining World Cups before the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, next month.

No American has earned a top-three World Cup finish to date this season. If that remains the case, the Olympic team selections will be based on the season-long World Cup point standings.

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...