Alpine

Wardle and Mangan Top 10 at Sochi

by
USSA
2016-03-01 17:35
 

SOCHI, Russia (Mar. 1, 2016) – Today’s alpine combined featured warm, spring like conditions with soft snow and challenging course sets, but Galena Wardle (Aspen, CO, U.S. Ski Team/Aspen Valley Ski Club) led the way for the Americans, finishing sixth with teammate Patricia Mangan (Buffalo, NY, U.S. Ski Team/Holimont Race Team) in seventh. Wardle and Mangan grabbed the first ever U.S. top-10 finishes in the event at the FIS Junior World Ski Championship level.

With temperatures rising to 50 degrees Fahrenheit at 10:00 a.m., the course workers had their work cut out for them knowing that the hard snow would transform into a grainy and peely surface quickly. The track held up for the ladies with plenty of salt used, but it was a challenge for the men, who followed the women.

Also noteworthy was Nina O’Brien (San Francisco, CA, U.S. Ski Team/Burke Mountain Academy/Squaw Valley Ski Team), who was second in the slalom portion of the combined, which moved her up from 26th in super G to finish 12th overall. “Though the conditions were challenging, the ladies executed well and didn’t give up. They had lots of fight,” said B, C and D Team Head Coach Frank Kelble. “We hope this gives the ladies some confidence going into the final three events.”

Conditions didn’t seem to bother Switzerland’s Aline Danioth, who was the fastest woman of the day, with Germany’s Katrin Hirtl-Stanggassinger in second and Slovenia’s Sasa Brezovnik in third. Danioth and Hirtl-Stanggassinger each snagged medals just two weeks ago at the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Danioth in slalom and giant slalom and Hirtl-Stanggassinger in alpine combined and giant slalom.

The men struggled with even higher temperatures and among the most challenging conditions these men have tackled. “By the time the men started, the course was pretty torn up,” said Assistant Development Team Coach Justin Johnson, “The set was super-tight and had a lot of swing for a men’s super G and for the conditions. After 30 DNFs in the super G, we again lost half the field in slalom. It was an extremely difficult hill for an alpine combined.”

Sam Morse (Sugarloaf, ME, U.S. Ski Team/Carrabassett Valley Academy/Sugarloaf Ski Club) was the lone American finisher in 13th, while Drew Duffy was en route to a podium in second after the super G portion of the combined before going out halfway down the steep in slalom. After skyrocketing from bib 63 to 26th in the super G, Patrick Kenney (Hingham, MA, U.S. Ski Team/Burke Mountain Academy) also DNFed in slalom. World Juniors downhill champion Erik Arvidsson (Woodside, CA, U.S. Ski Team/Squaw Valley Ski Team/Bear Valley) also DNFed in the super G.

Slovenia’s Stefan Hadalin was victorious, with Norway’s Marcus Monsen in second and Croatia’s Istok Rodes to follow in third.

The Rosa Khutor alpine center appears to be alive and well with after the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, as the top juniors in the world have been welcomed by a good crowd of about 8-9,000 enjoying some free skiing at the now-popular resort and bringing the good energy with them. The Americans will look to soak in some of the energy from their surroundings and teammates into the giant slalom, slalom and team events will follow for the remainder of the week.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Galena Wardle and Patricia Mangan finished sixth and seventh, respectively, the first ever U.S. top 10 finishes in the alpine combined event at World Juniors.
  • Wardle was the third U18 behind Switzerland’s Aline Danioth and Germany’s Katrin Hirtl-Stanggassinger, who finished 1-2 in today’s race and both grabbed medals at the recent Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.
  • Sam Morse had a solid top 15 finish, landing in 13th in challenging conditions.
  • The 2015 national super G champion Drew Duffy went from bib 32 to 2 in super G, before skiing out in slalom.
  • The schedule has changed slightly to feature women's giant slalom Wednesday, men's giant slalom Thursday, women's and men's slalom Friday and the team event on Saturday.

 

QUOTES

Chip Knight, Alpine Development Director
It was a good day for the women today – great for Galena and Tricia to crack the top 10, and Nina's 12th was positive too, as she posted the second fastest slalom time.

Lots of DNFs in both runs today. Really warm weather here and conditions were soft already first thing in the morning for super G. The slalom held up better than expected, but it was on a steep pitch so it was technically very challenging.

Frank Kelble, Women’s Europa Cup Head Coach
Though the conditions were challenging, the ladies executed well and didn’t give up. They had lots of fight. We hope this gives the ladies some confidence going into the final three events.

Justin Johnson, Men’s Development Team Assistant Coach
By the time the men started, the course was pretty torn up. The set was super-tight and had a lot of swing for a men’s super G and for the conditions. After 30 DNFs in the super G, we again lost half the field in slalom. It was an extremely difficult hill for an alpine combined.

The boys skied awesome today in tough conditions. Even though we didn’t necessarily get the results we wanted, dang, are these boys skiing well and coming together as a team!

RESULTS
Men’s alpine combined
Women’s alpine combined