The final women’s event of the 2019 U.S. Alpine Championships took place on Monday as giant slalom was on the schedule under blue skies in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.
Building on her momentum all season, Squaw Valley and U.S. Ski Team athlete Keely Cashman came out hot in the first run wearing bib number four. Cashman set the time to beat in the opening run, clocking in at 1:14.29 seconds, 0.23 seconds ahead of teammate and Dartmouth College student-athlete Patricia Mangan, who sat in second. Nina O’Brien, who has been riding high after securing the NorAm Overall, slalom, GS, and super-G titles, as well as winning the U.S. National combined, super-G, parallel, and slalom — all in the last week — was in the hunt as well, sitting in third place, 0.80 seconds back of Cashman.
With the sun beating down on the Waterville slopes as the second run got underway, O’Brien gave it her best shot to sweep the series, setting the fastest second run time and waiting in the finish for Mangan and Cashman to challenge her blistering second-run pace. Mangan fought hard but was unable to hold on to her advantage after the first run, sliding into second place with only Cashman left in the start. The Strawberry, California, native held nothing back in her second run, skiing aggressively and composed en route to setting the second fastest second run time and walking away with her first U.S. National title with a combined time of 2:28.46 seconds, 0.28 seconds ahead of O’Brien in second and 1.22 second ahead of Mangan in third. Cashman was also the fastest junior racer on Monday.
Cashman’s win on Monday was the culmination of a season’s worth of hard work that included her first NorAm victories and two top-five finishes at this year’s World Junior Championships in Val di Fassa, Italy. At only 19-years-old, look for this young talent to only get better with age.
“I’m super excited to have gotten this win today,” Cashman said after the race. “Last season was tough for me and this season I have really turned it around. I set a lot of goals at the beginning of this year and a national title was definitely on the list. It feels really good to have all of the hard work pay off.”
O’Brien cannot be upset with her silver medal, however, having won a total of six national titles over the past two seasons, not including her first title in GS as a 17-year-old from 2015. The Burke Mountain Academy skier also scored her first World Cup points this season and represented the United States at the 2019 World Championships in February in Are, Sweden, highlighted by a 28th place in the GS. The future looks awfully bright for this 21-year-old.
Mangan pulls double duty as a member of the U.S. Ski Team as well as representing Dartmouth on the NCAA circuit. A 2018 Olympian, Mangan finished third at the NCAA Championship GS earlier this month and landed on the podium on Monday for her second top-three of the series after also finishing third in Sunday’s slalom.
“I’ve had a ton of fun this season and feel good about the past few days,” Mangan said. “I’m bummed the season is over because I want to keep racing! But I’m also thankful for all the lessons learned this year and more excited than ever to keep working hard over the summer to be even faster next season.”
The women have now wrapped up their season of elite-level racing. Athletes will now be racing in various spring races and attending training camps for the remainder of the 2019 season.
- Keely Cashman (USA): 2:28.46
- Nina O’Brien (USA): +0.28
- Patricia Mangan (USA): +1.22
- Alice Merryweather (USA): +2.90
- Paula Moltzan (USA): +2.99
- Stefanie Fleckenstein (CAN): +3.21
- Lisa Olsson (SWE): +3.26
- Resi Stiegler (USA): +4.43
- Claire Thomas (USA): +4.47
- Emma Hall (USA): +4.81
For complete FIS results, please click here.