WINTER PARK, Colo. — While Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley was busy extending her title record at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships this past weekend, Lila Lapanja was hard at work building her own name with a solid all-around performance.
Lapanja, a first-year member of the U.S. Ski Team's Development Team and former member of the Sugar Bowl and Diamond Peak ski teams, was the top junior racer in the women's combined and finished second overall competing against top members of the A Team.
The 18-year-old North Shore native also was fourth overall and the second junior in Thursday's slalom, and 17th overall in both the GS and super G. Lapanja was .09 from the overall podium in the slalom.
Mancuso, meanwhile, powered through the soft snow conditions at the Winter Park resort on Saturday to increase her own national title record to 15. Her win came one day after landing a massive 1.2-second victory in the super G for her 14th national title. Truckee's Stacey Cook finished eighth in both the GS and super G.
Mancuso's win on Saturday marked the fourth straight GS 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 hairpin 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.
Among other Tahoe-area juniors, Foreste Peterson finished 12th in the slalom while Allene Kennedy was 27th and Julia Bjorkman 39th. Peterson was 13th in the super G as Bjorkman took 38th, Lena Andrews was 40th and Madeleine Hall 49th. In the GS, Peterson finished 18th and Andrews 39th. Their places among junior racers were not available.