Alpine skiing | Julia Mancuso increases national title record to 15
WINTER PARK, Colo. and#8212; Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley powered through soft snow conditions at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships in Colorado on Saturday to take giant slalom gold and up her own national title record to 15.
The win came one day after Mancuso landed a massive 1.2-second victory in the super G for her 14th national title.
Truckeeand#8217;s Stacey Cook finished eighth in both the GS and super G, while the North Shoreand#8217;s Lila Lapanja of the Sugar Bowl and Diamond Peak ski teams was the top junior racer in the womenand#8217;s combined and was second overall. Lapanja also was fourth overall and the second junior in Thursdayand#8217;s slalom and 17th overall in both the GS and super G. She was .09 from the overall podium in the slalom.
For Mancuso, her win Saturday marked fourth straight giant slalom title and sixth of her career. She also has four super G titles, four combined titles and one downhill title. World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn started the first run, but made an early exit after getting late into a hair pin turn.
Nineteen-year-old Norwegian Kristine Gjelsten Haugen was second ahead of 17-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin in the GS, while Leanne Smith took silver and Laurenne Ross bronze in the super G.
and#8220;Iand#8217;ve got 10 years of experience on these girls [Haugen and Shiffrin], so itand#8217;s kind of scary that theyand#8217;re giving me a run for my money,and#8221; Mancuso said. and#8220;These girls are skiing fast and itand#8217;s a highlight for young racers to ski well here, and if I can help them get highlights itand#8217;s even better for me.and#8221;
Temperatures soared into the mid 60s on Saturday at Winter Park, creating the soft snow conditions for the final run. But it didnand#8217;t bother Mancuso, who is accustomed to spring-like conditions growing up in Tahoe.
and#8220;First run was really good conditions; for the second run it is so warm here it was tough, but nothing too bad,and#8221; Mancuso said. and#8220;I really have fun skiing in the spring and I like these conditions, so I never feel unsafe or that I am risking anything by being out here. Itand#8217;s more that if I stay home Iand#8217;m risking missing out on all the fun.and#8221;
Among other Tahoe-area juniors, Foreste Peterson from the Sugar Bowl Academy finished 12th in the slalom while Allene Kennedy of the Squaw Valley Ski Team was 27th and Julia Bjorkman from the Sugar Bowl Academy was 39th.
Peterson was 13th in the super G as Bjorkman took 38th, Lena Andrews was 40th and Madeleine Hall of the Squaw Valley Ski Team 49th. In the GS, Peterson finished 18th and Andrews 39th. Their placings among juniors were not available.