Mendes earns silver medal in Junior Worlds |

Mendes earns silver medal in Junior Worlds

Michael Traum

The Winter Olympics in Nagano was supposed to be Jonna Mendes’ warmup for this week’s Junior Worlds in France.

It appears to have worked.

Mendes, 18, of South Lake Tahoe, was the top American finisher in Thursday’s downhill, earning a silver medal with a time of 1 minute, 24.67 seconds. Austria’s Martina Lechner, 19, won the gold in 1:24.41.

“That’s awesome, sensational,” said Noel Dufty, Mendes’ local coach at the Heavenly Ski Foundation. “To get a medal is really difficult. And the Austrian girl is 1-year older then Jonna. She’s still got one more year left (in the Junior World category).”

Mendes will go for an unprecedented second medal in Friday’s super-G, considered to be her best event. According to Dufty, no American woman has ever won two medals at a Junior World Alpine competition.

Mendes is coming off a 17th-place finish in the Olympic downhill, as well as a 14th in the combined and 32nd in the super-G.

Other American downhill finishers included: Alison Powers, 20th; Tiffany Powers, 26th; and Tatum Skoglund, 29th. Caroline Lalive did not finish.

On the American men’s side: Scott Macartney, third; Geoffrey Stephenson, seventh; Travis Svensrud, 25th; and Bryon Friedman, 46th.

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