Mendes can’t catch Mancuso
March 24, 2003
Only a teammate from Lake Tahoe prevented Jonna Mendes from winning her third national title Friday at the Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, N.Y.
North Shore’s Julia Mancuso defeated South Shore’s Mendes by more than a second to win the super-G title, her second victory in as many races at these championships.
Mendes, a bronze medalist in super-G at the World Championships last month in St. Moritz, Switzerland, was timed in 1 minute, 21.89 seconds. Mancuso’s winning time was 1:20.65.
“I kinda let my guard down a little bit, relaxed a little bit,” Mendes said. “It’s kind of frustrating in a way and I know why it happens. As much as I wanted another national title — I was gunning for it, I was still charging — I made some mistakes, which, luckily, on the World Cup circuit didn’t happen many times this season. I have so many positives to take from the season.”
However, Mendes still can look forward to Tuesday’s GS, an event she has surprisingly won the past two years.
Counting her downhill training run win on Tuesday and her downhill triumph on Wednesday, Mancuso was undefeated on this mountain until falling on her second run of slalom on Sunday.
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“Right now, it seems to be so simple. I’m using my natural feel for the snow; it helps me out to just trust my feet … just have some fun,” Mancuso said. “I definitely got some confidence. I’m feeling good about my equipment now and I’m going out of the start with more confidence.”
ESPN will televise coverage from the championships April 4.
Kristina Koznick won the women’s slalom title in 2:07.56, more than two seconds ahead of Katharine Hitchcock. Sarah Schleper, Jessica Kelley and Lauren Ross were next.
Meanwhile, Bode Miller isn’t through with his fantastic seson.
Miller, putting the finishing touches on the best season by a U.S. male skier in 20 years, won Sunday’s slalom.
“There’s been lots of lows, too,” said Miller after claiming his second straight slalom title at nationals. “I skied well consistently all season, but never on top of my game.”
Miller has earned three gold medals at nationals: He won the super-G last week and Sunday’s showing allowed him to defend his title in the combined.
Miller finished Sunday’s two slalom runs in 2 minutes, 6.59 seconds, fighting off blustery winds, fog and deteriorating snow. Eric Schlopy was 0.73 behind, followed by Jesse Marshall, Chip Knight and James Cochran.
The men’s events wrap up today with the giant slalom. The women finish with Tuesday’s giant slalom.
— The Associated Press also contributed to this story.
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