Mendes fifth in Cortina downhill |

Mendes fifth in Cortina downhill

CORTINA d’AMPEZZO, Italy — Jonna Mendes enjoyed her first top-five World Cup finish in a downhill on Saturday.

Kirsten Clark of Raymond, Maine, reached her third podium of the season with a time of 1:31.03 while Mendes grabbed the first top-5 of her career in 1:31.42. Clark moved into a tie with Carole Montillet of France atop the World Cup downhill points list, each with 245 after four races.

“I was charging,” Clark said. “I knew my skis were going fast right out of the start, so I attacked. I knew I could’ve done better in those super-Gs, so I was firing today.”

Renate Goetschl of Austria won her second race in 24 hours. With temperatures in the upper 20s, Goetschl, who broke her left leg and tore knee ligaments last March, collected the 24th win of her career in 1:30.74. Her win followed a victory Friday and second-place finish Wednesday in two super Gs. Clark was 14th in each race.

Former Truckee resident Caroline Lalive of Steamboat Springs, Colo., tied for 12th, while Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley was 35th.

“It was pretty damn good,” said Jim Tracy, U.S. women’s downhill/super-G head coach. “Of course we had to wait for everybody to finish, but it was worth the waitE

“I don’t know where Ales [Sopotnik, waxing technician] found the five- or six-tenths that were missing, and I don’t care, but he did, and Clarky and Jonna, all of ’em skied really well. I told ’em at the team meeting last night, ‘Don’t leave any doubt who’s the best up there’ and they responded. It was a real team victory today.”

Lalive put together a strong second run to finish 10th in a GS on Sunday.

Lalive, 18th after the first run, was fifth-fastest on the second run, and moved to 10th in 2:32.48. Kristina Koznick of Burnsville, Minn., the only other American to reach the second run, finished 26th.

Mendes’ strong weekend began on Friday when she led the U.S. with an eighth-place finish in super-G. Lalive also placed in the top 10, taking 10th.

Winner Goetschl was timed in 1:16.95. Teammate Alexandra Meissnitzer was runner-up in 1:17.21 and Canada’s Melanie Turgeon, who was second two years ago in Cortina, took third in 1:17.23.

It was the first super G top-10 for Mendes, who was timed in 1:17.77, with Lalive timed in 1:18.08. Clark was 14th, Mancuso 17th and Libby Ludlow of Bellelvue, Wash., promoted to the “B” team this week because of her improved international rankings, came in 29th.

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