Alpine

Ross and Cochran-Siegle Claim SG Titles

by
Megan Harrod
2017-03-25 14:01
 

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, ME (March 25, 2017) – Laurenne Ross (Bend, Oregon – U.S. Ski Team) and Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, VT – U.S. Ski Team) claimed the top of the podium in Saturday's super G at the U.S. Alpine Championships at Sugarloaf.

After some fresh snowfall Friday night, the course crew at Sugarloaf had their work cut out for them for Saturday’s super G. Though the fresh snow and fog led to delays, it didn’t seem to bother Ross – who snagged her second U.S. Championship title in super G – or Cochran-Siegle, who grabbed his first career title.

For both the men and the women, it was the U.S. Ski Team athletes who shined bright, with no big podium surprises and some really good skiing. Rounding out the podium for the women were Stacey Cook (Mammoth Lakes, CA – U.S. Ski Team) and Megan McJames (Park City, UT) – tying for second, 1.05 seconds off the pace, and Alice McKennis (New Castle, CO – U.S. Ski Team) – reigning Sugarloaf 2015 National Champion – in fourth. Nina O’Brien (Edwards, CO – U.S. Ski Team), who won the U.S. national giant slalom title in 2015 in Sugarloaf, finished fifth and won the junior women’s U.S. national super G title.


Ryan Cochran-Siegle captured the super G national title. (U.S. Ski Team - Reese Brown)

For the men it was a tighter race, with Jared Goldberg (Holladay, UT – U.S. Ski Team) taking second, .26 off the pace and Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA – U.S. Ski Team) in third, .44 second out. All eyes were on Sugarloaf local Sam Morse (Sugarloaf, ME – U.S. Ski Team) – Carrabassett Valley Academy grad and 2017 Junior World downhill champion – who ended up fourth, just 12 hundredths off the podium. He’ll walk away as top junior of the day, which is an honor not foreign to Morse.

“Being top in the country is cool – being top in the world is even cooler,” reflected Morse following Saturday’s super G. “To be part of the next generation of American Downhillers is really exciting. I’ve been super fortunate to have older guys who are really friendly – they could be jerks, but instead they’re always really accommodating to us – teaching us and showing us. I'm really thankful to them for making it an enjoyable process.”

Ross – one of the best downhill and super G skiers in the world – remarked on how special it is to stand on the top of the podium. “I want to be the fastest skier out there, so it still does mean a lot to be able to be the National Champion and win a race," she said. "It doesn’t matter if it’s a FIS race or a World Cup – just being the fastest racer is really special.”


Local boy Sam Morse took the national juniors title in super G. (U.S. Ski Team - Reese Brown)

Ross was also quick to note the influence she, as a veteran World Cup athlete, could have on the next generation of ski racers. “Here I am, hopefully helping to inspire the next generation of skiers. I am getting older, so my time will come to be done with this sport and be able to hang out with the young kids and get them to step up and start skiing fast is important in our sport.”

For east coast native Cochran-Siegle, it gave him the chance to join his family members – the famous Cochran ski family – who have also claimed numerous national titles. “I think it means a lot to win a national championship,” said Cochran-Siegle. “My family has a lot of national titles to their name – Robby [Kelley] has one, Jimmy [Cochran] has a ton, Robby’s mom has a ton – so it’ll be cool to get in that club.”

Athletes praised the World Cup-like prepped surface and the good vibes that U.S. Alpine Championships provides. “It’s sweet to come out to nationals to see all the kids and everyone’s all fired up to see ski racing again,” noted Ganong. “They’ve been watching us on TV all year, so they can see us now in person, and get some face time with us. It’s fun to come and do one last race of the year – a fun run to end the season; no pressure.”

Three-time national title holder Cook shared similar sentiments, and also took time to praise the course crew on the hill prep. “The conditions were really good today," said Cook. "I’d love to go ski it again. It was really fun to have a perfect surface like that at an event that’s not a World Cup. I’m amazed by how perfect it was on the slope.”

The U.S. Alpine Championships continues Sunday in Sugarloaf, Maine with men’s and women’s slalom.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Laurenne Ross won her second U.S. national super G title Saturday in Sugarloaf.
  • East coaster Ryan Cochran-Siegle, of the famed Cochran ski family, won his first U.S. national super G title.
  • Current Junior World Downhill Champion and Carrabassett Valley Academy grad Sam Morse finished fourth and was the top junior for the men.
  • Nina O’Brien, who won the U.S. national giant slalom title in 2015 in Sugarloaf, finished fifth and won the junior women’s U.S. national super G title.
  • The U.S. Alpine Championships continues Sunday in Sugarloaf, Maine with men’s and women’s slalom.

QUOTES
Laurenne Ross
Normally when I approach nationals I try to tell myself that I don’t care. But ultimately, I do. I want to be the fastest person. I want to be the fastest skier out there, so it still does mean a lot to be able to be the national champion and win a race. It doesn’t matter if it’s a FIS race or a World Cup – just being the fastest racer is really special. Even though it’s U.S. nationals, it’s a big race for a lot of people and to be able to win a race in my home country is awesome.

I remember my first U.S. nationals. It was in Mammoth Mountain, California. It was so windy. I remember in the slalom the gates were on the ground, backwards, pointing at me. I thought, ‘I don’t know how to do this – I guess I’ll cross block down here’ – it was kind of a shock. I’m pretty sure I started 80th in GS and 70th in slalom. It was a huge eye opener, being able to be there with Lindsey Vonn, Jules [Mancuso] and all of the big skiers – Bode and Ted – having those guys there was huge for me when I was that young. Here I am, hopefully helping to inspire the next generation of skiers. I am getting older, so my time will come to be done with this sport and be able to hang out with the young kids and get them to step up and start skiing fast is important in our sport.

Stacey Cook
The conditions were really good today. I’d love to go ski it again. It was really fun to have a perfect surface like that at an event that’s not a World Cup. I gave away a little bit in the middle – we were getting some mixed reports about how that middle section was running, and I think I listened a little too well and was a little too cautious in some of the problem areas. But I still had a lot of fun, and I’m amazed by how perfect it was on the slope.

Nationals still means something to me. You have a long season on the World Cup, you go to World Championships and the Olympics a few times and it’s really easy to forget about this event – it’s the lowest level event that we have in the year – but for most people here it’s the highest level event. But the title still means something, and I take that to heart. I remember the first time I went to nationals and how meaningful it was to race against the best and measure up. So, I want those girls in the back to be able to measure up to my best. You know, I’m not going to give anything away. I want them to see where they need to get to, and that’s probably the most powerful tool at that age – to race against people that are faster. I definitely am trying my hardest out here. I’m trying not to give anything away.

Megan McJames
I think the really cool thing about U.S. nationals is that you get to see all of your friends. Because I’ve been on the tech side I don’t get to see the speed girls that often – or the men’s team – so it’s just great. The ski world’s such a tight-knit community so it’s good to see everyone.

Alice McKennis
Being a national champion is really great. As a World Cup athlete you always focus so much on World Cup podiums and how you do on the World Cup, and – at the end of the day – it’s still nice to finish as a national champion. That’s something you’ll carry with you the rest of your life, and you can have that title and know that that one day you were the best in the U.S., and that’s something to be proud of. I’m happy to have a title in both downhill and super G now.

It’s great to be at nationals and have all of your friends together – you’re reunited, and we don’t see some of the tech girls all year and then you come out here and you get to hang with Julia Ford and Megan [McJames], and it’s so fun to be reunited with all of your peers that you’ve known for 10 years. So, it’s a fun environment.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle
I always love coming back to the east coast. I haven’t been back here since 2010, I guess. I didn’t even think about that, but being in familiar territory is always an advantage. Like, Sam Morse had a really good run, and I’ve skied this hill quite a bit so it’s always fun to have east coast conditions. Knowing what the hill is going to give you is a pretty big advantage, and then just trusting your skiing. This is a hill where you have to find flow and I think I did a pretty good job with that.

I think it means a lot to win a national championship. My family has a lot of national titles to their name – Robby [Kelley] has one, Jimmy [Cochran] has a ton, Robby’s mom has a ton – so it’ll be cool to get in that club.

Jared Goldberg
It feels good to wrap up the season here. Racing at U.S. nationals is relaxed compared to what we’ve been doing all year with big races – World Cups, World Championships – coming here is really relaxed and we know everybody on the hill, all the coaches and we see a lot of coaches we’ve grown up with on Western Region team and stuff.

Travis Ganong
It’s sweet to come out to nationals to see all the kids and everyone’s all fired up to see ski racing again. They’ve been watching us on TV all year, so they can see us now in person, and get some face time with us. It’s fun to come and do one last race of the year – a fun run to end the season; no pressure.

For me, nationals is more about just coming out and seeing all of my teammates I haven’t seen all year that have been doing NorAms and Europa Cups, and then seeing all the kids – it’s more of the goal here.

Sam Morse
Racing at home is a ton of fun. I’ve been telling people this week that there’s a little bit of an ignorant bliss you have when you go to a hill for the first time. Obviously there’s advantages of running on a hill I know, but there’s also disadvantages. I know where the difficult parts are, where it’s going to stack up, how it’s going to run, so sometimes you find yourself pulling back in those areas because you know it’s going to be close. But if you had no idea, then you’d just send it.

It’s so much fun racing in front of the home crowd. Pushing out of the gate today at the start, there are fans all across the cat track cheering for me. That’s so much fun. They're excited to see one of their own competing with some of the best guys.

Being top in the country is cool – being top in the world is even cooler. To be part of the next generation of American Downhillers is really exciting. I’ve been super fortunate to have older guys who are really friendly – they could be jerks, but instead they’re always really accommodating to us – teaching us and showing us, so I'm really thankful to them for making it an enjoyable process.

RESULTS
Women’s super G
Men’s super G

For all things U.S. Alpine Champs, make sure to check out the event website