In the final race of the U.S. National Championship series, Ryan Cochran-Siegle earned his third national championship title in the men’s giant slalom on Tuesday in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. The soon to be 27-year-old won both the downhill and super-G national championship titles the week prior in Sugarloaf, after coming off a disappointing result on the World Cup circuit, when he just missed qualifying for the giant slalom at World Cup finals by one World Cup point.
On Tuesday, Cochran-Siegle proved he is one of the top men currently racing the discipline for the United States. After falling behind second-place finisher, Brian McLaughlin, in the first run, Cochran-Siegle laid down an impressionable second run to take the lead. Cochran-Siegle and McLaughlin were the only two men in the field within a second of each other’s time.
“I seem to be on a pretty good roll lately,” said Cochran-Siegle. “Very happy and a little bit relieved to be ending my season on such a high note! I was really impressed by Brian’s fast first run and knew it would take some of my best skiing to be able to compete with him for the win. I’m just thankful I was able to find that extra gear and little bit of time on the hill.”
McLaughlin fell behind by 0.38 of a second but still skied a full second faster than third place podium finisher, Tommy Ford. McLaughlin had finished second in both of the final NorAm giant slalom races at Burke Mountain, and secured another World Cup starting spot by taking second in the giant slalom overall standings. After not finishing or qualifying for the second run in his last few races on the World Cup, his strong finish in the NorAms and at National Championships helps keep the momentum going forward.
“It feels good to end the season on a high note,” said McLaughlin. “I learned a lot on my first season on the World Cup and I am excited to start working hard to get ready to really break through on the World Cup next year. I will have another fixed World Cup spot through NorAms and I will push it again next year at the highest level.”
Ford had quite the successful and consistent World Cup season, finishing ninth in the overall giant slalom standings by the end of the tour after having gathered multiple top 10 finishes and a career-best fifth in Alta Badia. After a hectic season, Ford is ready for a well-deserved pause before jumping back into 2019/20 preparation.
“This year has been learning to trust where I’m at. As far as how I feel now, I’m tired, hungry, proud of my younger teammates for making team a priority, and optimistic about ski racing in this country,” said Ford. “Looking forward to the lack of schedule, rejuvenating a compressed body, and seeing loved ones.”
The biggest leap made in Tuesday’s race was by American Andrew Miller, who jumped 15 positions in one final push for the top ten, coming up eleven-hundredths short and settling for 11th overall. Luke Winters, who had been hoping to seize his third National Champion title of the week, finished 1.96 off of Cochran-Siegle in sixth.
The men have now wrapped up their season of elite-level racing and will continue onward into the spring and summer hoping to build on the momentum set by this season through a few spring races and summer training camps as they look ahead to 2019/20 racing.
1. Ryan Cochran-Siegle (USA): 2:15.35
2. Brian McLaughlin (USA): +0.38
3. Tommy Ford (USA): +1.38
4. Nicholas Krause (USA): +1.67
5. Sam Morse (USA): +1.90
6. Luke Winters (USA): +1.96
7. David Domonoske (USA): +2.97
7. Drew Duffy (USA): +2.97
9. Guillaume Grand (FRA): +3.16
10. Tim Gavett (USA): +3.42
For full race results, please click here.