Alpine

Wardle Wins Alpine Combined National Title

by
USSA
2016-03-23 14:57
 

SUN VALLEY, ID (March 23, 2016) – 17-year-old Galena Wardle (Aspen, CO – U.S. Ski Team) took home her first-ever national title at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships in the event’s inaugural standalone women’s alpine combined.

On another bluebird morning, the women were excited to shred the tight and technical super G course on Sun Valley's Greyhawk before launching into slalom in the afternoon. “It’s a difficult (super G) hill and they have to put so many gates on it because of the amount of vertical,” said Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR – U.S. Ski Team), who won the super G portion of the day. “It’s really turny, very GS-y. Super technical the whole way down and doesn’t ever let up.”

Ross led coming into the slalom, with Jackie Wiles (Aurora, OR – U.S. Ski Team) and Anna Marno (Centennial, WY – U.S. Ski Team) hot on her heals in second and third, respectively. But the slalom was quick and turny, favoring the tech experts. Ross was on her way to winning the combined, but crashed at the bottom the hill and DNFed, while Wiles and Marno moved back into fourth and fifth. Wardle, who was eighth after first run, threw down a blazing run to take second in the slalom and the overall win.

“I was really nervous at the top of the slalom!” said Wardle after her win. “It’s my first time here. My dad spent a lot of time here. It’s a cool hill. I’m still in shock! This is definitely a career highlight for me.”


Galena Wardle raced to first place in Sun Valley. (USSA)

Wardle hails from Aspen, CO and the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club before being named to the D Team this season. She has been a regular in the NorAm top 10 and scored an excellent sixth place in the 2016 FIS Junior World Ski Championships alpine combined. She’s a well-rounded skier, regularly competing in downhill, super G, giant slalom and slalom—making her a mean competitor in combined events.

Behind Wardle, Megan McJames (Park City, UT – Park City Ski Education Foundation) missed first place by just .02 and settled for second. She has won national titles in alpine combined before, but when they weren’t standalone races. “I’m 28, so this is probably my 12th (U.S. Alpine Championships) or so,” said McJames. “I’ve won the combined before. But this is different—before the super G and slalom were on separate days and they would take the best runs. This is cool because this is a standalone combined. It’s exciting!”

Wardle’s D Team teammate Patricia Mangan (Buffalo, NY – U.S. Ski Team) took third, attacking from sixth place after the super G.

Next up, both men and women race super G on Thursday.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Galena Wardle won the women’s alpine combined national title. It’s her first national title and her first year on the U.S. Ski Team.
  • Laurenne Ross won the super G portion before crashing in the slalom.
  • 2015’s GS national champion Nina O’Brien won the slalom run.
  • Megan McJames took second with Patricia Mangan third overall.

 

QUOTES

Galena Wardle
I was really nervous at the top of the slalom. It was really fun and quick. The super G was super technical this morning, so that was awesome. Really steep, tough hill. I loved it. It’s my first time here. My dad spent a lot of time here. It’s a cool hill. I’m still in shock! This is definitely a career highlight for me, but the week is still going. We have another super G run tomorrow, so the set will probably be pretty similar. It was good to get out this morning and test it out and tomorrow we’ll go again.

Megan McJames
I think today everyone had mistakes. It was a hard-charger award. Both the super G and the slalom were really turny. Even when you made a mistake, you had to keep charging. Those were the girls that were fast today.

I’m 28, so this is probably my 12th (U.S. Alpine Championships) or so. I’ve won combined before. But this is different—before the super G and slalom was on separate days and they would take the best runs. This is cool because this is a standalone combined. It’s exciting!

Laurenne Ross
It’s a difficult (super G) hill and they have to put so many gates on it because of the amount of vertical. It’s really turny, very GS-y. Super technical the whole way down and doesn’t ever let up. For being a minute 15, a minute 20, it feels longer. You’re fighting the whole way. It’s a really tough hill, but conditions are great.

It’s definitely been hard to keep my energy levels up. I’m just struggling right now to wake up in the morning and get the energy to race!

It’s so nice to be back here in Sun Valley. It feels like home.

 

RESULTS
Women's alpine combined