SUN VALLEY, Idaho – U.S. Development Team member Galena Wardle of Aspen, Colo., managed to claim her maiden national title on Wednesday, taking the women’s alpine combined with a total time of 2:04.44 seconds. Finishing in second was veteran American independent racer Megan McJames, a razor-slim 0.02 seconds behind as fellow D-teamer Patricia Mangan squeaked into third, 0.38 seconds off of Wardle’s pace.

In much the same way as the men’s race the day before, Sun Valley’s Greyhawk venue proved a formidable challenge for the women in the morning’s super G run as only 27 of the 43 starters managed to finish the super G portion.

World Cup veteran Laurenne Ross had set the time to beat in the super G by 1.66 seconds over Wardle, who sat in eighth. As the afternoon sun beat down on Sun Valley, the stage was set for a battle of wills as yesterday’s men’s race proved just how important a strong slalom showing would be to name the final podium.

After the lead changed hands numerous times as the flip-27 progressed, Wardle took to the course and knew she would have to do something special if she was to make up the advantage Ross had after the super G. Smooth and precise on the warm and peeling snow, Wardle danced down the slalom and crossed the finish with an impressive advantage and then began the nervous waiting game as the rest of the field took to the course.

As racer upon racer failed to match Wardle’s pace, only Ross stood between the Aspen native and her maiden national title. Ross, hot off an impressive finish to her World Cup season, looked to have the victory sealed as she approached the finish showing an advantage of over a second at the final intermediate. But then disaster struck as she found herself on her hip mere feet from the finish line as the title slipped away and into Wardle’s hands.

“I was a little nervous, but I knew that if I gave it all I had and skied solidly that I could make up that time,” Wardle said in the finish. “So, I went for it.”

Wardle also claimed fastest junior honors as a U19, indicating that big things may be on the horizon for the youngster.

McJames also sat over a second behind Ross after the super G, but was confident in her slalom abilities and knew she was more than capable of making up her first run deficit.

“I feel like in slalom I’ve been feeling more comfortable, but it was also turny,” McJames explained. “The goal was just to stay ahead of the course the whole way down and the girls who did that were fast today.”

Mangan also managed to grab her first nationals podium appearance and was delighted to find herself among the fastest women in the country.

“It’s very cool, very cool,” Mangan said. “The super G was tough so it was good to make it down and then the slalom was pretty soft, so, also happy to make it down that but it’s pretty awesome, I’m psyched!”

Racing action continues in Sun Valley on Thursday with men’s and women’s super G.

See more photos from today’s race in the gallery here.


Official Results

 1  13  6535930 WARDLE Galena 1998 USA  1:18.94  45.50  2:04.44
 2  12  538284 MCJAMES Megan 1987 USA  1:18.52  45.94  2:04.46  +0.02
 3  11  6535765 MANGAN Patricia 1997 USA  1:18.55  46.27  2:04.82  +0.38
 4  9  539536 WILES Jacqueline 1992 USA  1:17.87  47.00  2:04.87  +0.43
 5  7  539457 MARNO Anna 1992 USA  1:17.99  47.71  2:05.70  +1.26
 6  2  6536179 TALBOT Nellie Rose 1999 USA  1:18.23  47.56  2:05.79  +1.35
 7  14  6535773 O BRIEN Nina 1997 USA  1:20.71  45.42  2:06.13  +1.69
 8  25  6535807 CUTLER Haley 1997 USA  1:19.34  47.51  2:06.85  +2.41
 9  16  6535455 JOHNSON Breezy 1996 USA  1:19.50  47.56  2:07.06  +2.62
 10  17  539363 GHENT Abby 1992 USA  1:20.23  47.15  2:07.38  +2.94
 11  3  6535942 LEBEL Maureen 1998 USA  1:19.99  47.77  2:07.76  +3.32
 12  30  536481 SCHLEPER Sarah 1979 MEX  1:20.69  47.53  2:08.22  +3.78
 13  36  6535992 THOMAS Claire 1998 USA  1:20.82  47.81  2:08.63  +4.19
 14  26  307386 DENDA Kayo 1995 JPN  1:21.73  47.86  2:09.59  +5.15
 15  27  6535485 REINHART Jessica 1996 USA  1:23.25  46.74  2:09.99  +5.55
 16  19  6535941 PARKE Juliette 1998 USA  1:21.38  49.26  2:10.64  +6.20
 17  33  6536166 SMITH Erin 1999 USA  1:21.38  49.64  2:11.02  +6.58
 18  20  6535456 JOHNSON Hannah 1996 USA  1:24.70  46.75  2:11.45  +7.01
 19  22  6535747 HARRIS Katy 1997 USA  1:23.40  48.81  2:12.21  +7.77
 20  37  6535771 NAWROCKI Rachel 1997 USA  1:24.41  49.28  2:13.69  +9.25
 21  34  6535749 HOGAN Lily 1997 USA  1:26.02  49.27  2:15.29  +10.85
 22  43  6535792 GAILIUNAS Kara 1997 USA  1:27.73  50.15  2:17.88  +13.44
Did not start 2nd run
 35  6535763 MACGREGOR Kayleigh 1997 USA
 10  537582 COOK Stacey 1984 USA
Did not finish 2nd run
 28  6535806 MCGREW Megan 1997 USA
 18  6535759 LEBBY Stephanie 1997 USA
 8  538573 ROSS Laurenne 1988 USA
Did not finish 1st run
 42  6536330 MCMURTRY Jessica 1999 USA
 41  6536023 BERNIER Maya 1998 USA
 40  6536005 MASS Hanna 1998 USA
 39  6536109 MATTSSON Ava 1998 USA
 38  6535953 GREENE Nicole 1998 USA
 32  6535538 SPENCE Erin 1996 USA
 31  107583 REMME Roni 1996 CAN
 29  6535774 OSTERGREN Madison 1997 USA
 24  6535907 ENGLISH Francesca 1997 USA
 23  6536213 CASHMAN Keely 1999 USA
 21  6535761 LIVRAN Heidi 1997 USA
 15  6535600 MERRYWEATHER Alice 1996 USA
 6  6535934 KLOMHAUS Storm 1998 USA
 5  6535947 DECKER Cecily 1998 USA
 4  6535762 LORD Madison 1997 USA
 1  6535572 BOWERS Dairinn 1996 USA
Article Tags: Alpine, Top Rotator, Top Story

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Sean Higgins
Senior Editor
- A Lake Tahoe native and University of Vermont graduate, Higgins was a member of the Catamounts' 2012 NCAA title winning squad and earned first team All-American honors in 2013. Prior to coming to Ski Racing Media, he coached U14s for the Squaw Valley Ski Team.
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