Finding her groove | SierraSun.com

Finding her groove

U.S. Ski Team report
Marco Trovati/APJulia Mancuso of Olympic Valley passes a gate during the first run of a World Cup giant slalom race in Lienz, Austria, on Friday. The Olympic champion placed second for her third consecutive top-3 finish.
AP | AP

Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley placed second in a giant slalom at Lienz, Austria, on Friday to move into second place overall behind teammate Lindsey Vonn in the World Cup standings.

Italy’s Denise Karbon swept her third straight GS while Mancuso ” who was runner-up to Karbon in the season opener Oct. 27 ” moved into second place in GS points.

Mancuso’s second-place finish marked her third consecutive top-3, following a pair of third-place results the previous weekend in St. Anton, Austria. All four of her top-3s this season have come in Austria.

Karbon stayed unbeaten in GS this season with a time of 2:02.73 as she laid down the fastest time on each run. Mancuso, fourth after the first run, finished in 2:04.01.

Americans Megan McJames of Park City, Utah, turned-in her first top-20, finishing 17th in 2:05.81, and Libby Ludlow of Bellevue, Wash., was 22nd. Stacey Cook of Truckee did not qualify for the second run.

After 13 World Cup races, Vonn, who also failed to qualify for the second run Friday, leads with 474 points and is No. 1 in downhill.

She also won the only combined event, which was a one-day super combined last weekend in St. Anton. Mancuso is second overall at 444 and is second to Karbon (300 points) in GS with 186.

Mancuso said she hoped to win the race for teammate Resi Stiegler, a close friend who was injured in the first run when she crashed through safety netting.

According to the Associated Press, Stiegler was hospitalized with a broken left forearm and right shinbone, torn ligaments in the right knee and a bruised face and hip after her crash halfway down the course. Hospital officials said she will be sidelined for two months.

In addition to being Mancuso’s teammate, the two traveled together to Thailand last spring and both graduated from Utah’s Park City Winter School.

“I gave everything to win it for Resi, but Denise was just incredibly fast,” Mancuso said.

“The way Denise skied today, I can only be happy to finish second. My first victory will come soon. I’m sure about that.”

Mancuso noted Friday’s GS not only was her third straight podium, but they came in three different disciplines.

Despite the surge in the standings, she shrugged off any speculation about an overall World Cup title.

“That’s not my goal when I’m racing,” she said. “It’s nice when I’m done and the points are there, but I don’t think about that as I race.”