US women's World Championships downhill team reportedly settled
SCHLADMING, Austria — The second of three women's downhill training runs commenced on the Streicher track in Schladming, Austria Thursday with Stacey Cook leading the way for the American girls in eighth place.
The competition among five remaining speed team members for just four American spots has reportedly been settled earlier in than previously expected.
Although Laurenne Ross has put down some great results recently — she had the fastest American time in Wednesday's training — this week's super G bronze medalist Julia Mancuso told us Thursday the team has already decided that she, Cook, Leanne Smith and Alice Mckennis will make the start.
An official determination won't be finalized until the team captains' meeting Saturday evening. Head Coach Alex Hoedlmoser stated earlier in the week that training runs would be part of the decision-making process.
In downhill, the U.S. women's speed team (including Vonn) has landed six girls in the top 10 this season — five in the top five — clutch performer Mancuso being the exception. In Vonn's absence, of course, an extra start has become available.
For the second day in a row, Regina Sterz clocked the fastest time leaving teammate Anna Fenninger 0.16 seconds behind. In third place, 0.36 seconds off the fastest pace, Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden.
As for the the American squad, Mancuso finished 12th, Smith 19th, Ross 23rd and Mckennis took a significant spill. She appeared a little rattled as she was getting up, but is doing OK, reports the team.
The snow conditions, which have been sketchy all week, are starting to firm up, says Mancuso.
"There's definitely still a lot of extra snow. It's not the conditions you would expect in February. Every time we have Championships or Olympics, the snow conditions don't quite cooperate with us. ... [My run] was OK. I think I'm in a good spot, good striking distance for downhill. I think in general I just need to try to go faster, I think I try to be on line too much. I just have to trust in my skiing and go for it," Mancuso said.
Mancuso says the skis are running well, and she's got a "faster pair" waiting to be busted out for the race.
Feb. 7, 2013
|14||RUIZ CASTILLO Carolina||1981||SPA||1:54.59|
|27||SEJERSTED Lotte Smiseth||1991||NOR||1:55.41|
|41||GASIENICA DANIEL Agnieszka||1987||POL||1:58.40|
|48||VAN BUYNDER Isabel||1991||BEL||2:00.30|
|52||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG||2:02.23|
|53||SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG||2:04.62|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 1st run|