Lindsey Vonn, David Chodounsky Win Slalom Titles at U.S. Nationals

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on March 30, 2009 10:20 am

The U.S. Alpine Championships feature a host of stars, America’s best battling it out for national titles.  Lindsey Vonn notched her third U.S. slalom title on Sunday.  Vonn, who just completed an historic back-to-back on the World Cup, was closely challenged by Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) and Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO).  Mancuso and Vonn were tied heading into the second run, but it was Schleper who blistered the second run, and finished a mere .10 behind Vonn, taking second.  Mancuso took third.

“It’s cool to be duking it out with your friends,” said Vonn.  “That’s what makes U.S. Championships so much fun. Julia and I were tied going into the second run, then Sarah has a super impressive run to move up – it was pretty exciting.”

On the men’s side, pre-race favorite and World Championships bronze medalist, Ted Ligety, had to drop out after injuring his right knee during a downhill training run on Saturday.  The vacuum was filled by former NCAA slalom title-holder David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO).  It was a big victory for Chodounsky who spent much of the year traveling with the Europa Cup Team.  A recent graduate of Dartmouth (last June), Chodounsky jumped from fourth to first with a dominant second run.  “I’ve been looking for this one all year,” said Chodounsky. “I’ve been skiing well, but today felt really smooth. The course held up really well considering all the snow we’ve had, but when the ruts started to form, you just had to stay inside the groove and it was fast.”

To all involved, the big heroes of the race were the crew at Alyeska working to keep the course in good shape.  Not an easy task considering the amount of new snow that has been falling on the resort.  “They have tremendous pride in the job they do here and just like yesterday for the downhill, they busted their butts to make these races happen,” said U.S. Ski Team men’s Head Coach Sasha Rearick. “We received another three to four inches of snow last night, there was an avalanche that fell over the race hill yesterday. You name it, it’s happened here and the crew has dealt with it so our athletes can race – it’s incredible.”

photo: Lindsey Vonn poses with children at the Opening Ceremony autograph signing at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships (Jen Desmond/USSA)

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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