WHISTLER, B.C. (April 6, 2013) — Amelia Smart dominated the U16 ladies’ giant slalom Saturday, winning both runs to earn gold during the second day of competition at the Whistler Cup, while Jack Crawford and Riley Seger took silver and bronze, respectively, in the U16 men’s slalom in Whistler, B.C.
Smart, 15, of Invermere, B.C., skied a fast first run in challenging snow conditions and had almost a two-second lead heading into the second run. She attacked the course with a clean line in the second run and again posted the fastest time, winning gold by more than two seconds.
“It feels pretty good. I was pretty nervous for the first run because it was super soft snow, but I attacked it and skied my best and it paid off,” said Smart, who skis with Team Panorama and was named to Team Canada’s squad for the Whistler Cup. “Second run I did the same thing and attacked as much as I could. I think I just had a good line.”
Smart posted a two-run combined time of one minute, 53.15 seconds.
“Amelia completely dominated the women’s giant slalom,” said Nigel Cooper, Alpine Canada’s manager of athlete development. “She took no prisoners. I think it had a lot to do with her making some really good adjustments to the conditions we got delivered here, which, ironically aren’t her type of conditions.
“She chose a line and a tactic that was really fast, which was really mature of her. Pretty impressive ski racing.”
Japan’s Mio Arai was second (1:55.23), and Kathryn Parker of Australia was third (1:56.28).
“In the first run I wasn’t quite satisfied, but in the second run I achieved my goal,” Arai said with the help of a translator. “I am so happy.”
“It feels great,” added Parker of her race. “I ran pretty early in the first run, so it was a bit better than the second because the second was a bit bumpy. It’s a really fun course. The Whistler Cup is a great experience.”
Saturday’s men’s slalom race saw head-to-head competition between Canada and Norway. Jack Crawford, from Toronto, Ont., fought his way through the pack from a late start number to take silver with a two-run combined time of 1:31.46, while Norway’s Jens Harald Johannessen earned gold (1:30.56). Despite a slip in the second run, Riley Seger of North Vancouver, B.C., won bronze (1:32.32) after posting the fastest first run of the day.
Crawford and Seger were both on Friday’s super-G podium, with Crawford winning gold and Seger taking silver.
“It feels pretty good to be on the podium for the second day,” said Crawford, 15, who races with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club and is representing Team B.C. at the Whistler Cup.
“I made a few too many mistakes in the first run; I was starting a bit farther back in the pack so when I started the run it was feeling okay, but when I got further down the ruts had just gotten bigger and bigger,” Crawford said of starting 49th. “The second run went a bit better. I was trying to fight the rough bits too much coming down, but once I figured that part out about halfway down, it got a lot better.”
Seger, another Whistler Mountain Ski Club racer, finished 22nd in the second run when he spun backwards at a gate and nearly skied out. Despite the mistake he still managed to secure third spot on the podium.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Seger, 15, who is racing with Team Canada at the Whistler Cup. “My first run was really good. I was starting 24th, and I executed my plan well and then second run, I was just trying to contain the nerves. I was having a good run until I stopped and skied backwards for a gate, and then I kept going.”
Seger’s slip left the door open for Johannessen, who was second after the first run.
“It feels great to win gold,” Johannessen said. “I just tried to get to the finish. The conditions are pretty bad, so I just tried to get down fast. This is my first time at the Whistler Cup and it is a great event. It must be the best event so far.”
Cooper was impressed with the Canadian duo’s ability to charge from the back of the pack.
“For the second day in a row Jack attacked from way back,” Cooper said. “He’s not racing on Team Canada, but obviously we’re very proud of him as a Canadian. He has started both days with late start numbers, and has charged his way onto the podium both days.
“Riley Seger might have had the biggest day, and maybe should have won the race. I think he was poised to win the run and win the race, but he made enough of a mistake that it put him back, and he still ended up third, which is pretty impressive.”
U14 racers also strapped on their technical skis Saturday to compete in men’s slalom and ladies’ giant slalom.
Louis-Philippe Noel, racing with Team Quebec, was the top-performing Canadian in the men’s slalom with a fourth-place finish (1:44.47). Japan’s Tarou Aihara (1:40.20) and Hiroto Hasebe (1:42.67) were first and second, respectively, and Chile’s Francisco Allende was third (1:43.53).
Canada’s Brianna MacDonald, who skis with the Osler Bluff Ski Club, took second in the ladies’ giant slalom (1:03.41) and Mollie Jepsen, of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, was third (1:04.01). Japan’s Chelsea Kumono won gold (1:03.15).
Sunday marks the final day of competition at the Whistler Cup, presented by Rio Tinto Alcan, with men’s giant slalom and ladies’ slalom.
APRIL 6, 2013 – WHISTLER, B.C. – WHISTLER CUP – U16 MEN’S SLALOM
APRIL 6, 2013 – WHISTLER, B.C. – WHISTLER CUP – U16 LADIES’ GIANT SLALOM
APRIL 6, 2013 – WHISTLER, B.C. – WHISTLER CUP – U14 MEN’S SLALOM
APRIL 6, 2013 – WHISTLER, B.C. – WHISTLER CUP – U14 LADIES’ GIANT SLALOM
To view an event schedule and for more information about the Whistler Cup, presented by Rio Tinto Alcan, go to www.whistlercup.com
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