Miller wins 9th national title |

Miller wins 9th national title

Associated PressVail CO, Colorado
Bode Miller skis down the course to a win in the men's Super G ski race of the U.S. Alpine Championships at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska, Saturday, March 31, 2007. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)

GIRDWOOD, Alaska – National titles are a little routine for Bode Miller.Yet he keeps winning them.Miller won the super-G Saturday at the U.S. Alpine Championships, tying the men’s record with the ninth national title of his career. And he was typically unsentimental, saying he was just slightly better through the most difficult part of what he described as a relatively unchallenging course.”I make a lot of mistakes. I think I sort of sometimes pay for them a little less than other guys,” Miller said. “It was just a matter of who made the smallest mistake.”Miller joins Dick Durrance and Tiger Shaw for the most titles at the U.S. championships. Miller still has the slalom Sunday and giant slalom Tuesday break the record at Alyeska Resort.

And if he does, don’t count on Miller gushing about it.”He downplays that sort of thing, but I think he does care,” U.S. coach Phil McNichol said.Miller has won on almost every level, taking the World Cup overall title two years ago and winning the super-G on the circuit this season. His 25 career World Cup victories are two behind Phil Mahre’s record for an American.About the only thing Miller hasn’t won is an Olympic gold medal. He won two silvers in 2002 and didn’t win anything last year at the Turin Games.Miller’s victory was followed by another perennial winner at the U.S. championships. Julia Mancuso, the Olympic gold medalist in giant slalom and third overall in the World Cup this season, won the women’s super-G for her eighth national title.

“I’m always psyched to go to nationals. This time is a little more mellow,” Mancuso said. “I’m excited to take home another national championship.”Mancuso, closing in on Andrea Mead Lawrence’s record of 10 U.S. titles, has won a medal at every national championship since her first in 2000, when she placed second in the super-G and the combined just after turning 16.Mancuso is testing new equipment this week and even on unfamiliar skis she was way faster than the rest of the field with a time of 1:11.80. Stacey Cook, the defending super-G champion, was second (1:12.03) and Katie Hitchcock third (1:12.12).Mancuso was able to successfully navigate the water fall jump and subsequent turn to the next gate, which tripped up everyone else.”No matter how fast you’re going you kind of drop off there and it’s just a little hard to make your direction change,” Mancuso said.

Miller was the defending national champion in the downhill and giant slalom, but had a disappointing run in the downhill Friday and finished 12th. On Saturday, Miller was back in form for the super-GThere is no training run in super-G and Miller can adapt quicker than anyone. Miller said he was just able to recover during the most difficult stretch of Saturday’s run, two wide turns before a series of smaller ones midway through the course.”This hill doesn’t really have a lot to it. That’s what you have to do,” Miller said. “That’s the one part of the hill where there’s a bit of a pitch to it. It’s five gates where you separate the field.”Miller finished in 1 minute 7.35 seconds. Steven Nyman was second (1:07.56), followed by T.J. Lanning (1:08.08).It was Miller’s second national title in the super-G. He also has two national championships in slalom, combined and giant slalom and one downhill U.S. title.

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