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Zamansky dominates first Hunter Mountain NorAm

Zamansky dominates first Hunter Mountain NorAmJan. 2, 2006 – The NorAm Cup series resumed in Hunter Mountain, N.Y., as U.S. Ski Team members Jake Zamansky and T.J. Lanning raced to first- and second-place finishes in Monday’s GS, putting them each in position to chase down coveted spots on the 2006-07 World Cup circuit.

The NorAm series is comprable to baseball’s minor leagues, with athletes trying to prove themselves and move up to the Big Show – the World Cup. From November to March, there are six NorAm races in every event; at the end of each season, points are tallied and the top two individuals in each discipline automatically qualify for next year’s World Cup.

Keystone, Colorado played host to the NorAm giant slalom and slalom openers; but these events were dominated by the sport’s international superstars, who used the races as a tuneup for the Beaver Creek World Cups (Finland’s Kalle Palander and Italy’s Davide Simoncelli won the NorAm GS races at Keystone). In other words, because the athletes previously in control of the standings will not race another NorAm for the remainder of the season, Zamansky and Lanning made serious progress toward the ultimate leap to the big leagues.

With a combined time of 2 minutes, 3.61 seconds, Zamansky dominated the day, charging to first-place finishes in both runs and winning the race by nearly a second.

Lanning had stellar results early in his U.S. Ski Team career, but he has been injury-plagued throughout the past two seasons. On a day where the light was flat and the temperatures were mild, Lanning put down his best result since returning to competition, skiing two very solid runs that were good for second place (2:04.51), just ahead of top Canadian finisher Stefan Guay (2:04.65).

Guay was also the first-place junior in the field, and when his native Quebec hosts the World Junior Championships in March, he will be primed to improve upon the bronze medal he won at last year’s world juniors.

Guay’s older brother, Erik, has become a consistent podium threat on the World Cup this season, and Stefan is candid about his desire to match big brother’s success. ‘I’m a little disappointed with third place today’ said Guay, ‘I’m not too far off, so I will hope to clinch [a World Cup spot] in the GS tomorrow.’

Even with a win today, Guay cannot actually lock up a World Cup spot. He currently trails Zamansky in the GS standings, and with two GS races in Panorama, British Columbia, left on the schedule, Lanning and others are still in the hunt.

Americans Evan Weiss, Roger Brown, Jesse Marshall, Warner Nickerson, Scott Veenis and Andrew Weibrecht also had top-10 finishes, respectively.

Weibrecht, a U.S. Ski Team member from nearby Lake Placid, N.Y., was the second-place junior and finished 10th overall.

NorAm Cup results
giant slalom, Jan. 2, 2006
1 2 ZAMANSKY, Jake USA 1:01.97 (1) 1:01.64 (1) 2:03.61
2 13 LANNING, Thomas (tj) USA 1:02.55 (2) 1:01.96 (7) 2:04.51
3 6 GUAY, Stefan CAN 1:02.63 (4) 1:02.02 (8) 2:04.65
4 11 WEISS, Evan C USA 1:03.03 (8) 1:01.67 (2) 2:04.70
5 15 BROWN, Roger P USA 1:03.02 (7) 1:01.72 (3) 2:04.74
6 5 MARSHALL, Jesse USA 1:02.83 (5) 1:01.92 (6) 2:04.75
7 12 NICKERSON, Warner C USA 1:03.18 (9) 1:01.74 (4) 2:04.92
8 14 VEENIS, Scott R USA 1:03.21 (10) 1:02.22 (12) 2:05.43
9 10 WHITE, Trevor CAN 1:02.62 (3) 1:03.18 (24) 2:05.80
10 7 WEIBRECHT, Andrew USA 1:03.21 (10) 1:02.63 (17) 2:05.84

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