Team USA Weekend Wrap-Up: Feb. 3, 2014
Ted Ligety is ready for Sochi.
Ligety opened a big lead on the first run and added to it Sunday to claim a giant slalom victory at the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The victory places him third in the season giant slalom standings.
Ligety, an Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion, picked up the win in the final giant slalom event before heading off to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Russia. He led by 1.28 seconds after the first run and won by 1.51 seconds.
The race was delayed and interrupted by fog after snow and fog had forced the cancellation of the men’s downhill and women’s giant slalom Saturday.
“That was a bumpy ride,” said Ligety, who posted his 20th career world cup giant slalom win. “It’s so tough when you can’t see anything. It just makes it that much more tiring. … I’m glad that I was actually able to make it to the finish line, let alone win.”
Elsewhere, Mikaela Shiffrin’s Olympic tune-up did not go quite as well. Shiffrin, the reigning world champion in slalom, finished seventh in the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, where she was leading after the first run. Shiffrin lost momentum when she hit a hole on a deteriorating course early in her second run.
Kikkan Randall finished fifth in the freestyle sprints Sunday at a world cup stop in Toblach, Italy. It was the last world cup event before Sochi for Randall and other Olympians. Liz Stephen, another 2014 U.S. Olympic Team member, led the way in Saturday’s 10-kilometer classic race, finishing 11th. Randall was 15th.
Justin Reiter completed preparation for the Winter Games in Sochi Saturday with a bronze medal in Sudelfeld, Germany, at the last snowboarding parallel giant slalom world cup event before the Winter Games begin. The podium finish was Reiter’s first in a world cup event since 2008.
Olympians Summer Britcher and Tucker West made their final preparations for the Sochi Winter Games by contributing to a silver medal for the United States Saturday in the team relay at the Junior World Championships in Igls, Austria.
Britcher and West handled the singles runs before Justin Krewson and Tristan Jeskanen formed the doubles team for the United States, which finished three-hundredths of a second behind the winning team from Austria.
Jake Vukich’s rink from Seattle and Cory Christensen’s rink from Duluth, Minn., won titles Saturday at the USA Curling Junior National Championships in Seattle. The two championship teams will represent the United States at the World Junior Championships later this month in Flims, Switzerland.
Vukich’s teammates were Evan McAuley, Luc Violette and Kyle Lorvick. Joining Christensen are Mackenzie Lank, Anna Bauman, Anna Hopkins and alternate Sonja Bauman.
John-Henry Krueger (junior men), Kimberly Goetz (junior women), Timothy Yoo (group 2 men) and Mei Fredeen (group 2 women) won the overall titles at the U.S. Speedskating Junior Short Track Championships Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee.
Randi Miller made a major step in her return to wrestling Saturday when she won a battle of Olympians and earned the women’s freestyle Outstanding Wrestler Award at the Dave Schultz Memorial International Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Miller left the sport after claiming a bronze medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, but has returned this season. She defeated 2012 Olympian and three-time Dave Schultz champion Elena Pirozhkova 2-1 in the 69-kilogram final.
“Elena’s a tough competitor and it was a good match,” said Miller, 30, who is competing for the U.S. Army team. “I’m out here to learn and I’m trying to figure out how to beat everyone.”
Miller won the Schultz title in 2007. Helen Maroulis won her second straight title at 53-kilogram weight class.
Joe Betterman also earned an Outstanding Wrestler award in the Greco-Roman portion of the event Thursday and Frank Molinaro did the same in the men’s freestyle Friday. Betterman defeated two-time Olympian Spenser Mango, 4-2, at 59 kilograms.
“We just make each other better,” said Betterman, who won his fourth Schultz title. “He scored first, so I knew I had to pick up the pace and score on my feet and get a turn.”
Kendrick Sanders, Andy Bisek, Jordan Holm and Robby Smith also won Greco-Roman titles.
Molinaro defeated Franklin Gomez of Puerto Rico in overtime at 65 kilograms. Jon Reader and Tyrell Fortune also won in men’s freestyle. Reader’s title was his second straight.
Olympian Nzingha Prescod opened the women’s foil grand prix season with a silver medal in Gdansk, Poland, while Olympic champion Mariel Zagunis opened the women’s saber grand prix season with a bronze medal in Orleans, France.
Elsewhere, the United States took men’s gold, silver and bronze in the Arizona Junior World Cup in Phoenix. Eli Dershwitz defeated Kaito Streets, 15-8, for the gold medal and Geoffrey Loss added a bronze medal. Malia Hee earned the women’s silver medal.
Anna Van Brummen won the junior women’s gold medal at the women’s epée junior world cup in Gothenburg, Sweden. Lewis Weiss claimed men’s bronze medal. Kasia Nixon took the cadet women’s gold medal and Charlie Horowitz the cadet men’s bronze medal.
Jackie Dubrovich earned a bronze medal at the women’s foil junior world cup in Lyon, France.
Paige Railey successfully defended her Laser Radial title Saturday when the ISAF Sailing World Cup concluded six days of competition in Miami. Railey carried a lead into the medal race where she finished first. Marit Bouwmeester, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist from the Netherlands was second in the medal race and overall. Defending champions Stu McNay and Dave Hughes of the United States earned a bronze medal in the men’s 470 event.
Katie Compton struggled through a bad start and an early crash Saturday and finished ninth in the elite women’s race at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. Compton was coming off her 10th straight national title and second straight world cup overall title, making her a strong contender for the world championship going into the race. Kaitlin Antonneau was 13th and Elle Anderson 15th. Jonathan Page was 18th in Sunday’s elite men’s race. Logan Owen was 14th in the U-23 men’s race.
Chris Wondolowski scored both goals when the U.S. Men’s National Team made its first appearance of 2014 with a 2-0 victory over Korea Republic on Saturday in Carson, Calif. South Korea had a 16-9 advantage in shots, but U.S. goalie Nick Rimando made five saves to improve to 10-0 as U.S. goalie.
Brad Davis assisted on the first Wondolowski goal in the fourth minute and Landon Donovan set up another score in the second half.
Elsewhere, in Frisco, Texas, the U.S. Women’s National Team also got 2014 off to a winning start when Sydney Leroux scored to give the United States a 1-0 victory against Canada Friday night.
Twin brothers Darren Barnes and Darrel Barnes won the 56- and 62-kilogram titles Sunday at the USA National Junior Championships in Aurora, Colo. Thomas Felstead, Dominick Trozzi and Timothy Crew won the other men’s titles.
Erin Amos edged American record-holder Sydney Goad for the 48 kilogram women’s title. Other women’s titles went to Ellen Kercher, Abby Barron, Karissa Lacy and Vanessa Bellmont.