Aspen’s Galena Wardle wins combined at U.S. Alpine Ski Championships
Galena Wardle of Aspen won her first national title Wednesday, taking the women’s alpine combined to kick off the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Ski Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Wardle, 17, is a product of the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club.
She posted the eighth fastest time in the super-G portion of the event Wednesday morning.
“Then she had a really strong slalom to win,” said Pat Callahan of the Aspen Valley Ski Club. “We’re so proud of her.”
Wardle posted a series of top-10 finishes last week in Aspen at the NorAm Cup Finals.
“I was really nervous at the top of the slalom,” Wardle said. “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.”
Lauren Ross of the U.S. Ski Team and Bend, Oregon, won the super-G portion on a sunny day at Sun Valley.
“It’s a difficult (super-G) hill, and they have to put so many gates on it because of the amount of vertical,” Ross said. “It’s really turny, very GS-y. Super technical the whole way down and doesn’t ever let up.”
Ross led into the slalom with Jackie Wiles of Oregon, the winner of the NorAm super-G in Aspen last week, right behind. Anna Marno, another medalist from the Aspen NorAm events, was third.
The slalom was a tight, technical set; Ross fell near the finish of the slalom.
Wiles and Marno moved back, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Wardle vaulted from the eighth-fastest super-G finish to the top for the combined win.
Megan McJames of Park City, Utah, finished second to Wardle by .02.
Patricia Mangan of New York finished third. She had been sixth in the super-G. Mangan and Wardle are teammates on the D Team in the U.S. Ski Team sequence.
Wardle has competed in all events this season, posting a sixth at the 2016 FIS Junior World Championships.
“I’m 28, so this is probably my 12th (U.S. Alpine Championships) or so,” McJames said. “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.”
The women and men will race in the super-G on Thursday at Sun Valley.
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