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J2 Nationals: Bennett and Berther claim GS crowns

The Giant Slalom champions from the J2 National Junior Olympics at Aspen make an interesting picture. Vanessa Berther is a shade over five foot tall. Bryce Bennett is about 6’6″. Some difference in appearance and in technique, but the results were the same: national championships.The Giant Slalom champions from the J2 National Junior Olympics at Aspen make an interesting picture. Vanessa Berther is a shade over five foot tall. Bryce Bennett is about 6’6″. Some difference in appearance and in technique, but the results were the same: national championships.

Berther, out of Ski Alpental Snoqualamie in the Pacific Northwest took on a clinic in her first run down one of the most challenging GS courses in North America Thursday and carried a one and a half second lead into the second run. She said after some conversation with her Dad and coach Jacques she was able to maintain focus and bring the win home.

“In the first run I went first, so it was pretty nice. The second run was rougher, but I just ignored it and kept going.” She said an ability to block out what was happening with other athletes or her margin and just focusing on making every turn was what helped her to the win. “Okay, being ahead by 1.5, it’s hard. … (but), Instead of focusing on the lead I would rather focus on what I do. The second run I was able to enjoy the ride rather than just going for it.”

For Squaw Valley’s Bennett it was a matter of controlled aggression.

“Yesterday (in slalom) I blew a nine tenths lead, so I was kind of mad,” he said. “I was hitting gates and really going for it,” he said. “When I found out I was second (to Ryan Cochran-Siegle) by a hundredth I said, ‘Okay, now it’s time. This is my day’.”

After a mid-race call to buddy Nick Daniels for some inspiration – “he told me to take some deep breaths and to be smooth,” – Bennett said he took a couple of runs by himself instead of taking lunch, looked “for my happy face,” and tried not to be nervous.

Whatever he did seems to have worked.

“I just tried to take it down the hill,” he said of his second run. “I had a couple of mistakes. … but it was alright.”

Completely all right. He, and his shorter counterpart, are national champions.

Bennett also won the combined, based on race points of DH, GS and SL. His total was 8.59 to Gunnar Shaw’s second ranked total of 83.18. Conor McDonald was close behind in third at 84.61. Christoph McDonald and Tanner Farrow rounded out the top five.

Lauren Samuels topped the women’s competition with 61.53. Slalom winner Greta Byrne was second at 78.78 and Berther third at 95.89. Foreste Peterson and Jacquline Wiles completed the top five respectively.

J2 National Junior Olympic Championships

Women’s Giant Slalom
Aspen, Colo.,
March 12, 2009

1. Vanessa BERTHER, USA/WST    2:05.14
2. Anna MARNO, USA/R/C    2:06.63
3. Joanna COFFEY, USA/R/C    2:07.78
4. Rose CASTON, USA/WST    2:07.79
5. Jacqueline LEBEL, USA/WST    2:08.00
6. Abby GHENT, USA/R/C    2:08.27
7. Foreste PETERSON, USA/WST    2:08.95
8. Jacqueline MAIER, USA/EST    2:09.02
9. Lauren SAMUELS, USA/R/C    2:09.05
10. Greta BYRNE, USA/R/C    2:09.68
11. Shane MCLEAN, USA/R/C    2:10.11
12. Sydney STAPLES, USA/WST    2:10.79
13. Avril DUNLEAVY, USA/WST    2:11.08
14. Kaytlyn SAMUELSON, USA/R/C    2:11.10
15. Chandler BRYANT, USA/WST    2:11.97
16. Makenzie BROWN, USA/EST    2:12.66
17. Maisie IDE, USA/R/C    2:12.69
18. Anne STRONG, USA/R/C    2:13.10
19. Jacqueline WILES, USA/WST    2:13.20
20. Mary SACKBAUER, USA/R/C    2:13.29
21. Emma NAATZ, USA/WST    2:13.61
22. Sara ANDREWS, USA/R/C    2:14.02
23. Kerry DAIGLE, USA/EST    2:14.08
24. Laura CREWS, USA/WST    2:14.85
25. Emily HAYES, USA/EST    2:14.99
26. Laura HALUPOWSKI, USA/EST    2:15.44
27. Kelsey LOCKE, USA/EST    2:17.41
28. Mikaela BRUCE, USA/EST    2:17.45
29. Leah SCOTT, USA/WST    2:17.55
30. Madison MCLACHLAN, USA/R/C    2:17.67

Men’s Giant Slalom
Aspen, Colo.,
March 12, 2009

1. Bryce BENNETT, USA/WST    2:00.43
2. Taylor SHIFFRIN, USA/R/C    2:01.12
3. Zachery RICKENBACH, USA/WST    2:01.78
4. Robert CONE, USA/EST    2:01.98
5. Ryan MESSETT, USA/R/C    2:02.20
6. Jack KIRBY, USA/EST    2:02.35
7. Sam GLAISHER, USA/R/C    2:02.53
8. Ryan COCHRAN-SIEGLE, USA/EST    2:03.24
9. Casey MYRICK, USA/EST    2:03.44
10. Alex JERRED, USA/EST    2:03.48
11. Jake SCANNELL, USA/WST    2:03.54
12. Hunter RESEK, USA/EST    2:03.62
13. Conor MCDONALD, USA/R/C    2:03.75
14. Christoph LENTZ, USA/WST    2:04.11
15. Tanner FARROW, USA/WST    2:04.22
16. Tom BOBOTAS, USA/EST    2:05.35
17. Sam MACOMBER, USA/EST    2:05.56
18. Peter ALBERTSON, USA/R/C    2:05.61
19. Prescott MCLAUGHLIN, USA/EST    2:05.70
20. Victor MAJOR, USA/R/C    2:05.75
21. Michael TURNER, USA/WST    2:05.90
22. Gunnar SHAW, USA/EST    2:06.29
23. Maclane BRADY, USA/WST    2:07.30
24. Micah EVONITZ, USA/R/C    2:07.38
25. Cannon O’BRIEN, USA/R/C    2:08.08
26. Matthew STRAND, USA/WST    2:08.40
27. Brock GARDEN, USA/R/C    2:08.69
28. Kegan ZORENS, USA/R/C    2:08.88
29. James CLEASON, USA/WST    2:08.99
30. Mick OSMUNDSON, USA/R/C    2:09.35

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