U.S. Alpine Championships | Truckee’s Tim Jitloff wins third straight title
SUGARLOAF, Maine — Giant slalom specialist and Truckee High grad Tim Jitloff threw down on bumpy snow at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships on Friday to earn his third national title in a row ahead of first-run leader Tommy Ford.
Former University of Utah racer Nick Cohee, who grew up skiing at Kirkwood, took third, while former Sugar Bowl racer Mark Engel of Truckee put down the fastest second run and finished fourth.
“It was fun,” said Jitloff, who was a favorite going into the race. “We’re all really tired here, but any time you can come back and see little kids who want to be doing what you’re doing is huge. That’s what these are all about.”
Jitloff was second after the first run behind Ford, who was going for his ninth national title. Ford put down a solid second run, but couldn’t hold first place, bobbling a bit on the on the last face. Jitloff’s win marked the sixth of his career in the U.S. Alpine Championships.
“Sometimes being the favorite is the hardest part,” Jitloff said. “I’m really happy for Tommy — he’s had a really tough go at it for the last two years. I always know nationals is Tommy Ford’s stomping ground, so I was like, maybe it’s good that he’s leading after first run — put a little pressure on him and maybe I can claw my way back.”
Jitloff’s season had its ups and downs. He took a couple of top 10s in World Cup races, but it wasn’t quite what he had hoped. For the man who competes closely with Ted Ligety in training, he couldn’t keep up when it came to race day.
But he still kept a good attitude — looking for the next race, the next result.
“The last two races I had at the end of the year on the World Cup did not go how I wanted it to go, so I was a little bummed out,” Jitloff said of his DNF in Kranjska, Gora, and 19th-place finish in the World Cup Finals. “If I can end the year on a win — a national title — that’s always awesome and something to be proud of.”
David Chodounsky was fifth and was followed by Hig Roberts and Jared Goldberg.
Jitloff added a second-place finish in the alpine combined on Sunday.
Mikaela Shiffrin cleaned up on Saturday, winning the U.S. Alpine Champs slalom by more than four seconds over Paula Moltzan. Megan McJames was third.
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As seniors from North Tahoe collected diplomas this week, a group of Lakers continued another local tradition — capturing first place at the boys’ regional golf championship.