Park City, UT Feb. 9--Fifteen-year-old Julia Mancuso (Tahoe City,CA) took a giant step Wednesday toward clinching the women's overalltitle in the $100,000 Super Series as she finished second in the firstof two giant slaloms at Super Series Finals at Park City MountainResort.
With one race remaining in the Super Series - another GS Thursday,Mancuso has 374 points. Canadian Anne-Marie LeFrancois, the only otherskier with a chance at the overall crown, is in second place with 296.If Mancuso does not finish Thursday and LeFrancois finishes first orsecond, she would take the overall title; otherwise...it's Mancuso's.
Mancuso, who had produced outstanding results all season and even madeher World Cup debut and then raced in European World Cups for additionalexperience, also leads the Super Series GS standings. Going into thefinal race, she has 175 points with Britt Janyk of Canada - Wednesday'swinner - in a tie for fifth place with 100. No one else can overtakeMancuso but Janyk; the same scenario holds as with the overall - ifMancuso falls, Janyk would need to finish first or second to claim thegiant slalom title.
In the first of the two GS races at Park City Mountain Resort, Janykled both runs Wednesday and finished more than two seconds ahead of thefield in warm sunshine and softening snow. Her two-run time was 1:56.04with Mancuso runnerup in 1:58.43.
Other U.S. skiers in the top 10 includes Christin Lathrop (NorthConway, NH), who was sixth, and 10th-place finisher Tove Pashkowski(Mammoth Lakes, CA).
"My first run wasn't so good," said Mancuso, "but I think I was givingthe hill too much repect. I still have a lot to give....Conditions wereslushy, really slushy but hard underneath."