April 1, 2007
GIRDWOOD, ALASKA - (USST News Bureau Release) - Resi Stiegler (Jackson Hole, WY) shook off the frustration of giving away the slalom title a year ago and laid down the fastest second run Sunday as she barged her way to her first national title, winning the slalom at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships.
Versus, formerly OLN, will televise coverage from the championships Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.
"Oh my God, how many times have I been second or third? Finally...it was worth the wait," Stiegler, a 2006 Olympian and the daughter of Austrian Olympic champion (1964 slalom) and multi-medalist Pepi Stiegler, gasped in the finish at Alyeska Resort.
"All the girls were at the bottom chanting, 'Please finish...please finish.' That was so cool. This is so crazy. I'm so happy with finally getting it," she said. In 2006 at Sugarloaf/USA, Maine, Stiegler led the first run but almost skied off course on her second run and wound up sixth.
Gold and silver for Stiegler
Stiegler was second Sunday in the 55-gate first run, just seven-hundredths behind Sterling Grant (Amery, WI). She laid down a "charging" second run - Coach Chris Knight's description - through a 54-gate course for a gold-medal, two-run time of 1:35.81.
Grant, the 2006 NorAm slalom champion, who injured her left knee in November during downhill training in Colorado and missed seven weeks (before returning by winning a NorAm SL in Quebec), had the second-fastest final run and took silver in 1:35.96. Third place went to Hailey Duke (Boise, ID) in 1:36.40.
Downhill champion Kaylin Richardson (Edina, MN) held on for 10th in the slalom but that was enough to give her the combined title, mixing the DH and slalom results. She was nearly a second ahead of Stiegler with Caitlin Ciccone (Bethlehem, NH) as bronze medalist.
"The snow was nice and smooth, and it was a good course for me," Stiegler said. "I really like the flats - that's where I could create the most speed...
"I always want to go for it. I know when I finish I can be in there, so I'm always gonna give her all I've got. And this is such a good podium - Sterling and Hailey, so cool...they're coming. They can rip."
Grant said, "I thought the race went well. I gave it all I had and I'm happy with my result, but Resi had a good second run."
Coach likes the podium's promise
Knight agreed on the quality of the up-and-comers on the podium. "I'm psyched for Resi, of course; it'll certainly be good for her confidence. It's been a big year for her - she 'broke a couple of ducks' (got a couple of first-time results) by winning that Europa Cup slalom (in Bischofswiesen, Germany, in February) and now this. It's all to the good.
"Resi's first run was a little conservative, but the second run she gave it more up top and as she came to the finish I think she backed off just a bit, realized she was okay and finished it off. She was charging...
"And Sterling's had some outstanding result since the injury. She's really been flying since joining us for a Europa Cup trip in January...and Hailey's certainly shown a lot of promise this season."
The women conclude their schedule for the Nature Valley championships Monday with a giant slalom. Ciccone is the defending champion.
For complete results: www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=21397&cal_suchsector=AL.