New Castle’s McKennis 9th in World Cup downhill
Aspen, CO Colorado
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland – New Castle native Alice McKennis scored a career-best World Cup finish at Saturday’s women’s downhill race in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
The 20-year-old, who’s bound for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, clocked in at 1 minute, 42.9 seconds to claim ninth place.
Her previous best finish was a 10th-place showing in Lake Louise, Alberta, earlier this season.
“She took advantage of her start number ,” U.S. Ski Team women’s head coach Jim Tracy said. “We thought it was going to be tough early because the forecast called for wind and snow, but there was none really.”
McKennis’ run was good for second among Americans and tailed only that of Vail’s Lindsey Vonn, who nailed down a fifth-place finish (1:42.52) on what proved to be a banner day for American skiers.
Chelsea Marshall was 10th, Stacey Cook 12th, Leanne Smith 18th, Julia Mancuso 22nd and Laurenne Ross 28th.
McKennis had skied the St. Moritz course just once prior to Saturday’s race. That came in a training run.
“It’s pretty remarkable,” McKennis’ dad, Greg, said in a voicemail on Saturday.
Greg McKennis was in Switzerland to cheer on his daughter, who was named to the U.S. alpine Olympic team on Tuesday.
“I’ve had a great time,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun in St. Moritz. I was thrilled to be here with her when she got her Olympic nod. It’s been pretty emotional and an unbelievably amazing experience for me.”
Alice McKennis had just one World Cup start to her name entering the 2009-10 season. She earned guaranteed downhill and super-G starts by winning NorAm Cup titles in each discipline last season.
The super G Sunday is the final World Cup race before the Olympics start on Feb. 12.
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