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Chris Lillis Takes Aerials Win, Megan Nick Finishes Second, As U.S. Hot Streak Continues

By Karen Price | Feb. 28, 2020, 11:28 a.m. (ET)

Chris Lillis competes in qualifying at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships on Feb. 5, 2019 in Park City, Utah.


One week after the U.S. men’s aerials team snapped a four-year winless streak on the world cup circuit, Chris Lillis officially began a U.S. winning streak. He followed Justin Schoenefeld’s victory Saturday in Belarus by scoring another win Friday at the world cup stop in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

And he wasn’t the only American on the podium.

Megan Nick, who earned her first career world cup podium earlier this month when she finished second in Deer Valley, Utah, claimed the same spot in the women’s competition Friday.

Lillis, from Pittsford, New York, became the youngest man ever to win a FIS world cup aerials competition when he snagged the victory as a 17-year-old back in February 2016. That was his first top-three finish on the circuit up but also his last up until last weekend, when Schoenefeld got the win in Belarus and Lillis finished third.

Lillis’ 2016 win was also the last by a U.S. man until this past weekend.

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On Wednesday, as world cup aerials stopped in Kazakhstan for the first time ever, Lillis qualified in second place with a score of 121.72. After the first round of the final he was in third place with a score of 113.72, then pulled out a big score of 121.27 on his second jump to top the field. Switzerland’s Pirmin Werner was second with a 117.65 and Belarus’ Pavel Dik was third at 111.37. Schoenefeld was fifth at 102.26.

Following Friday’s competition, Lillis had moved up to sixth in the season rankings, while Schoenefeld was 11th.

In the women’s competition, Nick took her second career podium finish and second of the month with a score of 73.08, edged by a hair by Ukraine’s Nadiya Mokhnatska who scored 73.66 for the win. 

The former gymnast and 23-year-old from Shelburne, Vermont, has been a member of the U.S. ski team since 2018. She’s ranked fourth in the world cup standings after Friday’s competition. Prior to her second-place finish in Deer Valley, her best result on the world cup circuit was fifth place in a competition in 2019.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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