Alpine ski racing: Travis Ganong clinches U.S. downhill title |

Alpine ski racing: Travis Ganong clinches U.S. downhill title

Sylas WrightSierra Sun and U.S. Ski Team

ASPEN, Colo. andamp;#8212; Squaw Valley skier Travis Ganong captured the U.S. Alpine Championships downhill title this past Saturday in Aspen, topping an impressive field of U.S. Ski Team members and Olympians that included runner-up Steven Nyman.Truckee native Stacey Cook, fresh off an 11th-place finish in the Olympic downhill, took second behind Leanne Smith in the womenandamp;#8217;s downhill championship. Because the race coincided with the end of the Vancouver Olympics, some of the U.S. Ski Teamandamp;#8217;s top racers didnandamp;#8217;t participate. Squaw Valley products Marco Sullivan and Julia Mancuso and teammates Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn were among those who did not compete. Ganong, 21, has been on fire of late, as his downhill win came on the heels of a first-place finish in a NorAm Cup downhill on Friday, Feb. 26, which followed a fourth-place finish in another NorAm downhill the previous day. In the U.S. downhill championship, Ganong edged Nyman by a mere four hundredths of a second to take the crown, posting a time of 1:35.67 to Nymanandamp;#8217;s 1:35.71. Canadaandamp;#8217;s Jan Hudec snuck into third.andamp;#8220;The weather was great, a little overcast but good visibility,andamp;#8221; said Ganong, who received his first World Cup start in the season-opening downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta. andamp;#8220;The track was amazing. It was super smooth, really good conditions.andamp;#8221;Will Brandenburg, who recorded an 11th-place finish in the Olympic super combined, and Chris Beckmann placed fourth and fifth, respectively, while Nick Daniels of Tahoe City did not finish.Ganong and many of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team members are in Europe for World Cup races this week in Norway, where Ganong hopes to ride the confidence from his recent success to a quality finish.andamp;#8220;As far as confidence goes, I came into the season as an invitee and just had a lot of motivation to fire my skiing, which really helped me to get to where I am now,andamp;#8221; said Ganong, who used to be on the U.S. Ski Teamandamp;#8217;s C Team. andamp;#8220;Hopefully my confidence can carry over from here to there.andamp;#8221;Smith finished with a winning time of 1:38.24 in the womenandamp;#8217;s race, while Cook was runner-up in 1:38.54 and Laurenne Ross third in 1:38.73.The remaining disciplines for the U.S. Alpine Championships will be held at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, N.Y., at the end of March.

U.S. Alpine ChampionshipsAspen, COFebruary 27, 2010Men’s Downhill1. Travis Ganong, Olympic Valley, CA, 1:35.672. Steven Nyman, Sundance, UT, 1:35.713. Jan Hudec, Canada, 1:35.814. Will Bradenburg, Spokane, WA, 1:36.405. Chris Beckmann, Guildlander, NY, 1:36.54-9. Scott Macartney, Crystal Mountain, WA, 1:37.1012. Joe Swensson, Niantic, CT, 1:37.5114. Colby Granstrom, Lake Stevens, WA, 1:37.95DNF: Nick Daniels, Tahoe City, CA, Will Gregorak, Longmont, CO