Tribune, U.S. Ski Team and AP reports
Jonna Mendes of Heavenly Foundation started her 2002-2003 World Cup season with a top-10 finish Friday in Aspen, Colo.
The seven-year U.S. Ski Team veteran was 10th, clocking in at 1 minute, 18.61 seconds in her super-G run. The time left Mendes .72 behind winner Hilde Gerg of Germany. Gerg, the defending World Cup champion, won for the 16th time in her racing career.
ESPN will air a taped replay of the race on Wednesday.
Kirsten Clark of Raymond, Maine, led the Americans with a fourth-place finish at 1:18.06.
“To be fourth in the first race of the season, I’m pleased. It’s a good start,” Clark said. “I made some mistakes up there, but I think that’s the sport of super G. You gotta chance it and put it on the line every run. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes you lose a little.”
Gerg overtook Olympic super-G silver medalist Janica Kostelic of Croatia by six-hundredths of a second, while Isolde Kostner of Italy was third in the field of 58.
Former Truckee resident Caroline Lalive of Steamboat Springs, Colo., who came too low on a big sweeping turn near the finish, lost time at the bottom but still finished ninth.
North Shore’s Julia Mancuso was 17th.
“We came to win ski races. We want podiumsEand Clarky was six-hundredths out. I’ll take it,” said Jim Tracy, the U.S.’s super-G and downhill head coach. “We’re not going for 15th or 16th place, or anything like that. We’re going to win races.
“Three-quarters of the girls have the experience now and the ability. We’re going to win races. It’s as simple as that.”
In a new format for the super-G, the top skiers in World Cup points raced in reverse-30 format.
“It makes it more exciting. There are a lot of people waiting down hereEthere’s some drama,” Clark said.
The women head to Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies for two downhills and a super-G Friday through Sunday.
Mancuso didn’t qualify for the second run of Saturday’s slalom race won by Anja Paerson of Sweden. Janic Kostelic of Croatia captured her fourth straight podium finish by taking second.
Sullivan rebounds in super-G
Marco Sullivan of Tahoe City was second among Americans in a World Cup men’s super-G on Sunday at Lake Louise, Alberta. He didn’t finish Saturday’s downhill.
Bode Miller of Fanconia, N.H., led the Americans with his second straight seventh-place performance. Miller also was seventh in Saturday’s downhill.
World Cup champion Stephan Eberharter won the season’s first downhill Saturday, leading a 1-2 finish for Austria.
The 34-year-old Eberharter, also a winner at Whitehorn Mountain in 2000, completed the 3,674-meter Olympic Downhill Course in 1:42.61.
“It was rough, it was a struggle all the way down so I’m very happy with this victory,” Eberharter said. “It’s never easy. I was very concentrated on this downhill. I was feeling like a young guy, like 20-year-old young boy.”
Hannes Trinkl, a Whitehorn winner in 1999, was second in 1:43.10, followed by Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt 1:43.45.
Seven of the top 10 finishers were Austrians.
“For sure we need more nations in there to mix it up a bit, otherwise it’s going to get boring,” Aamodt said.
Truckee’s Daron Rahlves, who had a pair of top-15 training runs, struggled in Saturday’s downhill, finishing a disappointing 24th.
“(Daron) just didn’t execute today, just didn’t get it done,” said U.S. downhill/super-G coach John McBride. “I’m still not very positive about the way the guys are skiing, and now we have to focus our energies on getting it done.”
Rahlves tied for 32nd on Sunday.
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