Shiffrin gains GS confidence with national championship title


Mikaela Shiffrin with her older brother, Taylor.

Mikaela Shiffrin poses with her older brother, Taylor, following the women’s GS race.

SQUAW VALLEY, Calif. — Mikaela Shiffrin certainly delivered the goods on another sun soaked day in Olympic Valley as the slalom gold medalist turned on the jets in giant slalom action to win the U.S. Alpine Championships title by a healthy 1.88-second margin before answering questions from young fans and signing everything from helmets to hoodies in the finish area at Squaw Valley.

“This event was definitely a confidence booster, and it’s my first GS win in a while, so that’s nice. But even before coming into here I knew what I had to do with my GS and what to improve on, and I kind of wanted to use this as a tester to see if it works. So far, it’s good,” said Shiffrin. “It’s probably the toughest hill we’ve skied all year. It’s sweet; it has a lot of terrain and pretty much the whole thing is steep, so it was really cool to end on this hill and feel like I made some good turns. I also felt the turns where I could improve, so I know what I want to do with my next training session.”

After a second run surge, hometown favorite Julia Mancuso powered from ninth on the first run to finish on the podium in third. Canada’s Marie-Michele Gagnon, the girlfriend of U.S. Ski Team athlete Travis Ganong of Squaw Valley, gave Shiffrin the closest chase and finished second. Shiffrin opened up a 1.50-second lead on Gagnon in the first run, then put her practice to work in the second to extend the lead and claim the title.

“Second run I felt like I attacked a little more at the top, I let it go a little bit more. I’m just trying to figure out how to look for speed in GS like I do for slalom, so I’m getting closer,” noted Shiffrin who also knew she had to hold Gagnon at bay. “There’s definitely fear that the Canadians could take (the title). They did last year when I straddled in the slalom. We all have to love the Canadians, but they can’t win a U.S. Nationals title!”

Gagnon chose to attend U.S. Nationals because they were held in her boyfriend’s backyard and on a hill where she has only ever had the opportunity to freeski, never race. But she also knew the start list would have solid competition on it as well.

“That’s a really pushy hill. It’s great that they have nationals here. I was just standing in the start, and I thought, ‘Wow! I get to race in Squaw right now, where Travis is from’ because I’ve only ever been here for fun,” remarked Gagnon. “I found some motivation (for second run); I went freeskiing, and I was feeling a little more energetic. I’m just not there right now, but that’s ok. Second place is great because Mikaela is the best skier in the world coming up. It’s always good to measure against her.”

Gagnon also appreciated the opportunity to see how her giant slalom stacks up even at the end of the season.

“Julia and Mikaela are really great skiers. My nationals is fun too, but we’re not a very big GS crew, so it’s good to come here and be with girls who are in the top 7 and really measure yourself,” she concluded.

Mancuso was equally excited to race on the challenging Red Dog trail and meet some of the young up-and-coming talent from the U.S.

“I was supposed to come home (this season) and I didn’t because the snow was not ideal, so it was unfortunate. But right now it’s awesome. It’s pretty cool that we can race nationals on Red Dog,” said Mancuso. “I think it’s pretty cool that Tamara (McKinney’s) daughter is racing today, so that’s pretty awesome. It was a lot of fun to be here and see all the girls racing and having fun. I think that’s the most important thing. Nationals are about also skiing with the legends but having fun.”

Mancuso almost missed the opportunity to attack the second run and to move onto the podium when she didn’t have her skis quite in time.

“I got my skis 30 seconds before I left the start gate. I was like, ‘Course hold! Course hold!’ My technician was a little slow today,” she reflected through chuckles. “The snow was pretty tough the first run, so I wanted to just have a good run. I’ve been having a little bit of problems with my hips, so the end of the season I was definitely tired. I just found a little bit of energy for second run, so for sure it was better.”

Mancuso is one of the legends herself, but race winner Shiffrin was also the top junior on the day, followed by the U.S. Ski Team’s Foreste Peterson in fourth and Paula Moltzan in fifth. Isabella Wright of the National Training Group and TEAM Academy was the top U18 in 20th.

The men’s national title GS race which will feature Ted Ligety is set for Friday on the same trail.

 

THE SCOOP

By Hank McKee

It is the third U.S. National Championship for Mikaela Shiffrin, her first in GS… the other two came in slalom (2011 and 2012). It is the first U.S. National Championship podium for Canadian Marie-Michele Gagnon and the 33rd career National Championship podium for Julia Mancuso, the U.S. National Championship all-time win leader with 16.

 

RESULTS

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time Diff. FIS Points
 1  6  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA  1:13.72  1:17.21  2:30.93    8.00
 2  2  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele 1989 CAN  1:15.22  1:17.59  2:32.81  +1.88  19.09
 3  4  537545 MANCUSO Julia 1984 USA  1:16.48  1:17.85  2:34.33  +3.40  28.05
 4  11  539678 PETERSON Foreste 1993 USA  1:15.50  1:18.93  2:34.43  +3.50  28.64
 5  1  539909 MOLTZAN Paula 1994 USA  1:15.38  1:19.50  2:34.88  +3.95  31.29
 6  15  537772 STIEGLER Resi 1985 USA  1:15.66  1:19.31  2:34.97  +4.04  31.82
 7  5  425916 FAUSA Chloe Margrethe 1992 NOR  1:16.89  1:18.84  2:35.73  +4.80  36.30
 8  17  539927 LAPANJA Lila 1994 USA  1:15.88  1:20.07  2:35.95  +5.02  37.60
 9  21  538305 SMITH Leanne 1987 USA  1:16.71  1:19.55  2:36.26  +5.33  39.43
 10  3  105649 RYLEY Kate 1989 CAN  1:16.88  1:19.44  2:36.32  +5.39  39.78
 11  18  538573 ROSS Laurenne 1988 USA  1:16.52  1:20.07  2:36.59  +5.66  41.38
 12  20  537582 COOK Stacey 1984 USA  1:16.81  1:19.82  2:36.63  +5.70  41.61
 13  13  539363 GHENT Abby 1992 USA  1:16.68  1:20.25  2:36.93  +6.00  43.38
 14  10  6535086 GIBSON Libby 1994 USA  1:17.45  1:19.65  2:37.10  +6.17  44.38
 15  12  539457 MARNO Anna 1992 USA  1:17.70  1:20.14  2:37.84  +6.91  48.75
 16  23  538855 FORD Julia 1990 USA  1:16.32  1:21.70  2:38.02  +7.09  49.81
 17  30  539685 RYAN Katie 1993 USA  1:18.47  1:20.24  2:38.71  +7.78  53.88
 18  24  539848 ALTRINGER Courtney 1993 USA  1:19.71  1:19.37  2:39.08  +8.15  56.06
 19  22  538841 DUPRATT Jaime 1990 USA  1:19.02  1:20.79  2:39.81  +8.88  60.36
 20  46  6535791 WRIGHT Isabella 1997 USA  1:19.84  1:20.44  2:40.28  +9.35  63.13
 21  28  6535634 BROWNELL-PATTY Danielle 1996 USA  1:19.46  1:21.99  2:41.45  +10.52  70.03
 22  42  6535882 DESROCHERS Rachael 1997 USA  1:20.67  1:21.39  2:42.06  +11.13  73.63
 23  26  6535455 JOHNSON Breezy 1996 USA  1:19.19  1:23.13  2:42.32  +11.39  75.16
 24  33  539502 COTTRILL Sarah 1992 USA  1:19.68  1:22.65  2:42.33  +11.40  75.22
 25  41  6535765 MANGAN Patricia 1997 USA  1:19.72  1:22.71  2:42.43  +11.50  75.81
 26  40  6535153 BACHMEIER Mackenzie 1995 USA  1:21.07  1:21.90  2:42.97  +12.04  79.00
 27  19  539404 SAMUELS Lauren 1992 USA  1:21.48  1:22.66  2:44.14  +13.21  85.90
 28  37  539929 HUME Audrey 1994 USA  1:20.69  1:23.72  2:44.41  +13.48  87.49
 29  7  538284 MCJAMES Megan 1987 USA  1:15.73  1:29.91  2:45.64  +14.71  94.74
 30  34  539651 GRAUER Taylor 1993 USA  1:22.14  1:23.63  2:45.77  +14.84  95.51
 31  48  6535494 SEDBERRY Chandler 1996 USA  1:21.08  1:24.71  2:45.79  +14.86  95.63
 32  25  537792 DUKE Hailey 1985 USA  1:21.77  1:24.18  2:45.95  +15.02  96.57
 33  59  6535491 RYDER Sierra 1996 USA  1:22.06  1:24.49  2:46.55  +15.62  100.11
 34  35  6535193 HUNSAKER Hannah 1995 USA  1:21.16  1:25.58  2:46.74  +15.81  101.23
 35  53  6535868 MURER Abigail 1997 USA  1:22.05  1:24.86  2:46.91  +15.98  102.23
 36  57  6535807 CUTLER Haley 1997 USA  1:21.09  1:26.46  2:47.55  +16.62  106.00
 37  50  6535907 ENGLISH Francesca 1997 USA  1:22.50  1:25.57  2:48.07  +17.14  109.07
 38  38  6535256 MUELLER-RISTINE Julia 1995 USA  1:22.23  1:26.37  2:48.60  +17.67  112.20
 39  47  6535461 KIDD Serina 1996 USA  1:23.83  1:26.61  2:50.44  +19.51  123.05
 40  49  539334 ROCKWELL Anne 1991 USA  1:23.24  1:27.36  2:50.60  +19.67  123.99
 41  55  539933 PECH Brayton 1994 USA  1:24.88  1:26.49  2:51.37  +20.44  128.53
 42  43  225611 FITZGERALD Jordan 1996 GBR  1:25.16  1:28.24  2:53.40  +22.47  140.50
 43  56  539922 RYAN Kristie 1994 USA  1:26.84  1:29.12  2:55.96  +25.03  155.60
 44  60  6535446 GREINER Megan 1996 USA  1:26.96  1:29.71  2:56.67  +25.74  159.78
Did not start 1st run
   58  6535806 MCGREW Megan 1997 USA          
Did not finish 2nd run
   54  6535456 JOHNSON Hannah 1996 USA          
   32  6535254 JOHNSON Madeline 1995 USA          
   27  425914 TEFRE Elise-Woien 1992 NOR          
Did not finish 1st run
   52  6535169 CORDINGLEY Nicole 1994 USA          
   51  6535485 REINHART Jessica 1996 USA          
   45  6535467 MARZARIO Montana 1996 USA          
   44  6535590 HENEGAN Sydney 1996 USA          
   39  6535469 MCCORMICK Erika 1996 USA          
   36  6535478 O BRIEN Audrey 1996 USA          
   31  6535773 O BRIEN Nina 1997 USA          
   29  6535759 LEBBY Stephanie 1997 USA          
   16  539932 IRWIN Katharine 1994 USA          
   14  107217 KNOWLES Natalie 1992 CAN          
   9  425889 MYKLEBUST Karoline Soevik 1991 NOR          
   8  539536 WILES Jacqueline 1992 USA      
Jitloff wins GS national championship in his Tahoe backyardMaria Hoefl-Riesch announces immediate retirement

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