Jitloff wins national giant slalom | VailDaily.com

Jitloff wins national giant slalom

Daily Staff ReportVail, CO Colorado

SUGARLOAF, Maine The U.S. Ski Teams Tim Jitloff grabbed his first national title Tuesday as he won the mens giant slalom at the 2008 U.S. Alpine Championships at Sugarloaf ski resort in Maine.I needed that (win). Im totally satisfied. I had a great game plan and I executed it, Jitloff said. I got the two podiums already, and now today it was nice to get the actual win. Ive had an extremely rough year but I decided the best thing to do was to crawl my way up out of the barrel. And now here we are. I had a good end of the year.Jitloff, who finished second in the combined and third in the slalom, laid down the fastest times during both runs for a combined time of 2 minutes, 4.67 seconds under picture perfect blue bird skies.At the start of the first run, I had to attack right out of the gate. It was clean and good. Then, there was going to be no beating around the bush on this second run because I had about five guys who were right on my tail, Jitloff said.The gold medal win in giant slalom complements the silver in combined and the bronze in slalom from earlier at nationals.Tommy Ford, who was named Ski Racings Junior of the Year during the annual athlete banquet held on Sunday night, finished second only one tenth behind Jitloff at 2:04.77. Ford also clinched the junior division title.Its a fun course. I thought my first run was pretty solid, said Ford, a U.S. Development Team athlete and member of the Mount Bachelor Ski Education Foundation. Ive raced this course twice before two years ago at nationals and junior nationals and I think I only broke top 30. I thought I did pretty well today, though.Colby Colleges Warner Nickerson, a local to the Sugarloaf ski area from years spent skiing during college, finished third at 2:06.22. All in all, it was a solid run. Sugarloaf is awesome. It hasnt been this nice all week, but as long as we get it Im happy, Nickerson said. Skiing on this hill for four years in college definitely gives you an advantage, but these guys are all great skiers and anyone could put together a good run.The 2008 U.S. Alpine Championships conclude Wednesday with womens giant slalom.

Will Gregorak and Hunter Schleper are coming home happy.In Tuesdays giant slalom, the final mens race at the U.S. Alpine National Championships, Gregorak, a J1, took eighth and Schleper, a J2, finished 17th.It was a pretty good day, said Gregorak, a Ski & Snowboard Club Vail racer. It makes the trip home easier.Gregorak, who was 15th in Mondays downhill, was sitting in ninth after the first run Tuesday.I had two pretty solid runs, said Gregorak, whose time of 2 minutes, 6.74 seconds was 0.25 seconds out of fifth. In only his first appearance at nationals, Gregorak closed out with a top 15 and top 10.A top 10 was one of my goals going in, he said.Schleper, the Vail-based skier who competes with Iced Out Racing, had two solid runs to finish in 2:07.75, less than a half-second out of the top 10.It turned out pretty good, said Schleper, who was 21st in the slalom. Today was much better than the rest of the days. Schleper was the top J2 racer, coming in nearly two-and-a-half seconds ahead of the next J2 finisher.My goal was to be one of the top juniors or top people in my age, said Schleper, another first-time racer at nationals. After my race at J2 nationals (which he won), I was only a little ahead of the next finisher, where, here the next finisher was a bit behind, so thats good.In the super-G, Schleper was tops for his age group by close to a half-second.Hunter had a really good showing, said Iced Out Racing coach Bruce Knoepfel. I think its a challenge for all of (the young racers) to come here and figure out where they fit in the big pecking order they dont see much.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.

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