SUGARLOAF, Maine (USST Press Release)—For the second straight season, Olympic combined champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) captured the slalom and combined gold medals Monday at the TD Banknorth U.S. Alpine Championships.
Ligety skied first and led all the way in the slalom, winning in 1:33.26 with Olympic teammate Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH), the 2004 U.S. SL champion, laying down the fastest second run to take the silver medal in 1:33.35. Vermonters Chip Knight (Stowe) - the 1996 U.S. SL champion here at Sugarloaf USA - and Cody Marshall (Pittsfield) tied for the bronze in 1:34.58.
That also gave Ligety the combined gold medal with a downhill/slalom combined time of 170.05, more than two seconds ahead of Cochran (172.10) with Steve Nyman (Orem, UT), taking the bronze medal in combined (173.06)
Later, Kaylin Richardson (Edina, MN) earned her first U.S. title in the women's slalom while Olympic giant slalom gold medalist Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) won the women's combined, the third straight year she's taken that title; overall, Mancuso has seven championships.
Ligety savors end of season
"This hill is great, It's in great condition, pretty hard all the way, according to Ligety, who said he hasn't been home since September. "It's nice to be pretty close to the end, the last slalom...
"I'm more than ready for it. I'm definitely burned out more at this point of the year, he said. "It's definitely nice to end it on a good note, and I hope it goes well tomorrow in GS.
After running two days of downhill training plus a FIS downhill and DH championship plus Sunday's super G on Narrow Gauge, the slalom started on narrow Gauge but finished on Cribworks, a different style of terrain. "This still runs in the bottom part, he said. "It ran pretty well all the way.
Cochran, the son of Olympian Bob Cochran, came up to the U.S. Ski Team with Ligety a couple of years ago and the two are leading the next charge from younger skiers. He was second on the first run behind the Utahn and nearly overtook him in the final run. "I have no complaints, he said with his trademark smile. [pagebreak]Mid-course adjustment meant double silver
"I got in a little trouble early and I was able to punch it right back on line, he explained. That gave him new confidence and energy "and I started to be more aggressive, take more risks.
With double silver, worth $6,000, he was pleased with his overall performance, especially after struggling for much of the last half of the season. "In the pre-Olympic period I had a stretch where I was really struggling, he said. The former Middlebury College and University of Vermont racer regrouped, tweaked some of his equipment and gave himself a good talking-to, which helped change his approach. He is skiing with "way more confidence than a month ago, he said.
Medals are worth $3,000 for gold, $1,500 for silver and $750 for bronze. The championships continue Tuesday with men's giant slalom and conclude Wednesday with women's GS.
2006 TD BANKNORTH U.S. ALPINE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sugarloaf, ME - March 27, 2006
1. Ted Ligety, Park City, Utah, 1:33.26
2. Jimmy Cochran, Keene, N.H., 1:33.35
3. (tie) Chip Knight, Stowe, Vt., and Cody Marshall, Pittsfield, Vt., 1:34.58 each
5. Tom Rothrock, Cashmere, Wash., 1:34.75
6. Drew Roberts, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 1:35.11
7. David Chodounsky, Crested Butte, Colo., 1:35.65
8. Stefan Hughes, Killington, Vt., 1:36.57
9. Steve Nyman, Orem, Utah, 1:36.63
10. Zach Brown, Sun Valley, Idaho, 1:36.69
1. Kaylin Richardson, Edina, Minn., 1:41.26
2. Caitlin Ciccone, Bethlehem, N.H., 1:4.85
3. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, Calif., 1:42.74
4. Lucia Zikova, Czech Republic, 1:43.74
5. Jilyne McDonald, Bellevue, Wash., 1:43.62
6. Resi Stiegler, Jackson Hole, Wyo., 1:43.99
7. Laurel Carter, Norwich, Vt., 1:44.24
8. Megan Hughes, Killington, Vt., 1:44.311
9. Jamie Kingsbury, Fayston, Vt., 1:44.63
10. Abbi Lathrop, North Conway, N.H., 1:45.36