Mancuso, Jitloff wins national combined titles
ALYESKA, Alaska – Lindsey Vonn (Vail, Colo.) added another victory to her already record-breaking season taking the third U.S. slalom title of her career Sunday at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships. Former NCAA slalom title-holder David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, Colo.) notched his first national championship, winning the men’s race as snow continued to fall throughout the day.
Combined titles, determined from pairing Saturday’s downhill results with the slalom, went to Olympic Valley’s Julia Mancuso and Reno’s Tim Jitloff. U.S. Development Team racers Nolan Kasper (Warren, Vt.) and Julia Ford (Plymouth, N.H.), who where the top juniors for slalom, also won the junior combined titles.
It was a tight second run battle for the women as Vonn and Mancuso were tied going into the second run. Mancuso ended the day in third just behind Sarah Schleper (Vail, Colo.), who poured on the speed for the fasted second run time to finish .10 seconds behind Vonn.
“It’s cool to be duking it out with your friends,” said Vonn, whose 2009 season made her the most successful women’s skier in American history. “That’s what makes U.S. Championships so much fun. Julia and I were tied going into the second run, then Sarah has a super impressive run to move up. It was pretty exciting. It’s also great to see all the younger racers. Julia Ford was fast in the downhill yesterday and she was the top junior today, so I’m going to keep an eye on her.”
“The girls did a great job today,” said U.S. Ski Team women’s coach Jim Tracy. “It was pretty exciting seeing Lindsey and Julia battling with Sarah right up there, too. There were also some new faces up near the top, which is exactly what you want to see at the U.S. Championships. All the athletes did a tremendous job in super tough conditions, even Lindsey had to adjust they way she skis to be fast today.”
In the men’s contest, Chodounsky laid down a crushing second run to move up from fourth and take the title by .38 seconds over first run leader Jimmy Cochran (Keene, N.Y.), the 2007 and ’08 slalom title winner. Cody Marshall (Pittsfield, Vt.) held fort in third maintaining his spot from the first run.
Notably absent was World Championships giant slalom bronze medalist Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah), who suffered a right knee injury during a downhill training run Saturday. According to U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association medical director Richard Quincy, Ligety will return to Park City for further evaluation and will miss the remainder of the championships.
“I’ve been looking for this one all year,” said Chodounsky, who was captain of the Dartmouth ski team before graduating last June. “I’ve been skiing well, but today felt really smooth. The course held up really well considering all the snow we’ve had, but when the ruts started to form, you just had to stay inside the groove and it was fast.”
“David just outperformed everyone in the second run,” said U.S. Ski Team men’s coach Sasha Rearick. “He traveled with the Europa Cup Team a bit this season and got some international experience. It’s good to see him put together such a great race in some really challenging conditions.”
Both athletes and coaches gave credit to the course workers and volunteers who worked overtime to prepare the hill for a good race.
“They have tremendous pride in the job they do here and just like yesterday for the downhill, they busted their butts to make these races happen,” Rearick said. “We received another three to four inches of snow last night, there was an avalanche that fell over the race hill yesterday. You name it, it’s happened here and the crew has dealt with it so our athletes can race ” it’s incredible.”
Before they could begin to prepare the slope for racing, crews had to first clear the pitch of volcanic ash from the nearby Mount Redoubt explosion, which began to fall following Saturday’s downhill.
“The crew here completely deserves all the praise,” Tracy said. “We’ve had 30 inches of snow, wind, volcanic ash falling from the sky, everything you can think of short of an earthquake, and these guys have done an amazing job getting the job done.”
“With all the crazy weather that has happened this week, I didn’t think it was even possible that we’d get in one race,” Vonn said. “It’s absolutely incredible what they’ve done for us.”
Action from the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships continued Monday with women’s giant slalom.
Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championship
At Alyeska, Alaska
Sunday’s slalom results
1. David Chodounsky, Crested Butte, Colo., 1:40.60
2. Jimmy Cochran, Keene, N.H., 1:40.98
3. Cody Marshall, Pittsfield, Vt., 1:41.51
4. Tim Jitloff, Reno, 1:41.58
5. Nolan Kasper, Warren, Vt., 1:41.68
1. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, Colo., 1:43.17
2. Sarah Schleper, Vail, Colo., 1:43.27
3. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, 1:43.48
4. Megan McJames, Park City, Utah, 1:44.41
5. Hailey Duke, Boise, Idaho, 1:44.85
1. Nolan Kasper, Warren, Vt., 1:41.68
2. Tommy Ford, Bend, Ore., 1:42.49
3. Grant Jampolsky, San Rafael, Calif., 1:42.84
4. Colby Granstrom, Lake Stevens, Wash., 1:42.96
5. Sean Higgins, Incline Village, 1:43.82
1. Julia Ford, Plymouth, N.H., 1:46.08
2. Devin Delaney, North Conway, N.H., 1:47.25
3t. Vanessa Berther, Sammamish, Wash., 1:48.73
3t. Annie Rendall, South Burlington, Vt., 1:48.73
5. Angel Collinson, Sandy, Utah, 1:48.88
1. Tim Jitloff, Reno
2. Nolan Kasper, Warren, Vt.
3. Jimmy Cochran, Keene, N.H.
4. Chris Frank, Windham, N.Y.
5. Thomas Biesemeyer, Keene, N.Y.
1. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley
2. Lindsey Vonn, Vail, Colo.
3. Kaylin Richardson, Edina, Minn.
4. Megan McJames, Park City, Utah
5. Laurenne Ross, Klamath Falls, Ore.
1. Nolan Kasper, Warren, Vt.
2. Thomas Biesemeyer, Keene, N.Y.
3. Colby Granstrom, Lake Stevens, Wash.
4. Tommy Ford, Bend, Ore.
5. Jared Goldberg, Salt Lake City, Utah
1. Julia Ford, Plymouth, N.H.
2. Devin Delaney, North Conway, N.H.
3. Angel Collinson, Sandy, Utah
4. Vanessa Berther, Sammamish, Wash.
5. Rose Caston, Salt Lake City, Utah