Mancuso captures top-10 GS finish | SierraSun.com

Mancuso captures top-10 GS finish

U.S. Ski Team reports

Alessandro Trovati/AP PhotoJulia Mancuso of Squaw Valley runs the course during the first round of the women's alpine World Cup giant slalom in Aspen, Colo., on Saturday. Mancuso finished seventh

ASPEN, Colo. – World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn finished fourth for a career best in giant slalom while Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley captured seventh at the Aspen Winternational on Saturday.

The event marks the annual U.S. swing for the women’s Audi FIS Alpine World Cup.

The course, which garnered 19-year-old Tessa Worley of France her first World Cup podium and win, was bumpy, snowy and saw 17 racers not finish their first run. Truckee native Stacey Cook placed 43rd.

Mancuso, who was just behind Vonn in eighth after the first run, pushed it up to seventh for what she felt were two consistent runs.

“I had two solid runs. They made the best out of the snow. Considering it was dumping all day long, it was actually icy,” Mancuso said. “I’m excited I did have two solid runs without risking too much. I know there is a lot of room to go faster and I’m psyched to start the season off making it to the finish and skiing consistently.”

According to Women’s Head Alpine Coach Jim Tracy, this is just the tip of the iceberg on what Mancuso can do this season.

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“I think she proved again that she’s a race-day girl and she stepped up,” Tracy said. “She skied even though she’s not quite where she wants to be yet, and she showed what she can do on a race day. That’s a testament to her character and how she approaches racing.”

Vonn, who suffered a bone bruise in her left knee last week, said Saturday’s bumpy course was not enough to keep her from charging.

“All things considered, it was an awesome day. Coming into this race with only one day of GS training ended up great,” Vonn said. “I wasn’t sure how my knee was going to feel because it was so bumpy and it held up really well.”

Vonn was in seventh following the day’s first run, but had the second fastest second run to earn her spot at fourth.

“Lindsey skied quite well today. The course was very challenging because the snow was injected to make it hard and then we got new snow on the top, so it provided really challenging conditions,” Tracy said. “Lindsey did a great job on the mental side of things, which is so important, especially on days like today. She made a few mistakes, but she was able to overcome those and get good speed down at the finish.”

Adding to the day’s excitement was American Sarah Schleper’s 13th-place finish ” a feat her coach said was a pleasant surprise.

“For Sarah, qualifying was a huge thing and finishing 13th on top of it was incredible for her,” Tracy said. “We didn’t really expect that to happen until later in the season. It just shows what she’s capable of.”

World Cup rookie Megan McJames (Park City, UT) was 25th for her second straight points finish of the young season.

1. Tessa Worley, France, 2:12.86

2. Tanja Poutiainen, Finland, 2:13.14

3. Elisabeth Goergl, Austria, 2:13.57

4. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO, 2:13.73

5. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 2:13.89

6. Maria Pietilae-Holmner, Sweden, 2:13.98

7. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 2:14.05

8. Marion Bertrand, France, 2:14.56

9. Nicole Gius, Italy, 2:14.76

10. Tina Maze, Slovenia, 2:15.08

13. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 2:15.62

25. Megan McJames, Park City, UT, 2:26.62

– (top 30 qualify for second run)

32. Leanne Smith, Conway, NH, 1:06.05

40. Kiley Staples, Park City, UT, 1:07.76

42. Keely Kelleher, Big Sky, MT, 1:08.67

43. Stacey Cook, Mammoth, CA, 1:10.28