Ross, Cook, Mancuso within .08 at SG Nationals in Squaw Valley
On a track with mixed conditions and under a bluebird sky, the world's best women's speed team settled the U.S. national super G title in Squaw Valley Friday.
Julia Mancuso was runner-up in the season-long SG standings, finishing just behind Overall winner Tina Maze, whom Mancuso would have had a chance to surpass if the final speed events in Lenzerhiede hadn't been cancelled.
Friday was Laurenne Ross' day, however, proving that she may have been the last of the six speed team members to reach the podium this season, but she certainly wasn't least. Ross finished with a time of 1:02.50, just one-hundredth of a second faster than Stacey Cook.
Ross, who picked up her first career World Cup podium in what turned out to be the final speed events of the season in Garmisch, said her winning run on Friday didn't feel good.
"It was really messy," said Ross. "This is a tough hill for super G. Not only is it a tough hill, period, but it's really hard to set on this hill because it's really narrow, so speeds are a little higher than you think. It's just kind of messy out there. It wasn't pretty skiing.
"[A national title] would be pretty cool," said Ross conservatively before all the racers had completed their runs. "I've never won a national title, so it would be my first. I'd be psyched."
Mancuso, who yesterday won the GS to pick up a record 16th national title, finished third on the day. Just to mix things up a little, Mancuso raced on Chelsea Marshall's skis because her own SG boards were MIA. She was just 0.08 seconds behind Ross.
"You always have to have a good run," said Mancuso. "Super G can be a little intimidating, especially when you're not ready. My skis didn't make it. They took a little trip around California."
Fellow Golden Stacey Cook, who finished fourth in the World Cup downhill standings this season, didn't think it was a good run when she crossed the finish line.
"It was a little soft up top and it's breaking down pretty bad," said Cook. "It just didn't feel good. It wasn't a feel-good run at all. But it's the time that matters in the finish, does't necessarily matter how you look on the way down."
Cook radioed up to some of the younger girls to reassure them that the course was fine: "Sometimes there's a discrepancy what you feel as an athlete and what the coaches are seeing, so I wanted to tell the younger girls what I was seeing and reassure them that it's bumpy, but it's fine."
Squaw Valley, CA (USA)
Ladies' Super G
|Rank||Bib||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||FIS Points|
|13||2||HEMPHILL Mary Beth||1994||CAN||1:05.29||56.67|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|