Cassie Sharpe instagram@cassiesharpe

Sharpe run puts Vancouver Island Olympian in first

Comox halfpipe skier Cassie Sharpe dazzles in qualifying, finals late this afternoon our time

A Comox Valley skier is off to a great start in her pursuit of an Olympic medal.

Cassie Sharpe had the run to beat in the women’s halfpipe, taking the top spot in qualifying Sunday afternoon (Pacific time) in Pyeongchang’s Phoenix Park.

Sharpe, who honed her skills on Mount Washington, scored 93.40 on her second run after a 93.00 on her first time down the halfpipe. In halfpipe, the best score from two runs counts.

“On my first run I just really wanted to land, that’s like my biggest thing for my confidence,” said Sharpe. “If I don’t land my first run, I have a hard time coming back from that, so I just really wanted to land my run, and then after that I was like ‘OK, I want to qualify first because I want to drop last in the final’.

“Because if you do well through that, you can drop last, and it’s your victory lap. It’s the best feeling in the world. So if I can get another one of those, I mean, I’m so excited.”

Calgary’s Rosalind Groenewoud qualified 11th with a score of 73.20. The top 12 competitors move on to the finals, set for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Pacific time.

France’s Marie Martinod was second with 92.00 points and Brita Sigourney of the United States was third with 90.60 points.

RELATED: Five Islanders carrying Olympic dreams

Meanwhile, another Islander has qualified for the final in women’s big air snowboarding.

Spencer O’Brien of Courtenay and Alert Bay, was 11th after earning 76.75 points in her second run. The top 12 competitors advance to the finals, beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, Pacific time.

Laurie Blouin of Stoneham, Que., was fourth after the qualifying round. She scored 92.25 in her second qualifying run for the big air competition, landing a cab double underflip, the same trick she tried in her first run. In big air, the best score from two runs counts.

“I did one of my biggest tricks that I have 100 per cent on lock to make sure I make it through to final,” said Blouin. “For the final I have another big trick, so I’m going to have to work hard in practice.”

Blouin suffered a head injury when she fell during training for the women’s slopestyle on Feb. 9, but went on to win a silver medal in that event.

Austria’s Anna Gasser was first in qualifying with 98.00 points in her second run, followed up by Japan’s Yuka Fujimori (94.25) and Reira Iwabuchi (92.75).

Earlier this weekend, Campbell River’s Teal Harle finished fifth in men’s slopestyle skiing and snowboard cross racer Carle Brenneman of Comox was eliminated in the quarter finals of her event.

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