Ford wins national slalom
WINTER PARK – Tommy Ford took slalom gold by 0.01 seconds to open men’s racing at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships Thursday for the seventh national title of his career. Norwegian Leif Kristian Haugen was second with Michael Ankeny third after first-run leader Jimmy Cochran hooked a tip the sun-soaked final run. Top junior honors went to Robert Cone of Middlebury College.But on this day, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Alex Leever, a 16 year-old J2, did something today at the U.S. Alpine National Championships that even he could not believe. He won the second run, vaulting into 21st place.Starting 75th, Leever charged the hill to finish 28th on the first run, and this had him starting third on the second run.”I knew the course would be as good as it gets for my second run,” said Leever. “And I had to get after it.”And get after it he did. “I got late and back a little ways down the course,” Leever said. “But I was super aggressive on the flats, and I think that’s where I pulled it off.” “Leever left nothing on the table,” said coach Peter Lange. “He just absolutely skied as hard as he could. And to win the second run from a start number of 75, and to finish 21st overall on the day, is nothing short of remarkable.””I can’t believe I beat skiers from the World Cup circuit,” Leever said.Taylor Shiffrin, No. 33 on the day, was first out of the start for SSCV, and skied his way to a 17th on the day, fifth for the junior men. SSCV’s Cannon O’Brien, starting 67th, ended up in 20th place.”Shiffrin is clearly proving he is one of the best juniors in the country,” said Lange. “This is a great result for him, and we are proud of the season he has had. “To come in 20th from a start of 67 is a great day for O’Brien,” said Lange. “He has come an amazing distance this season, and to finish this well against such a strong field is a testament to his hard work.”
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