Schleper top American in Austria SL; DNF for Vonn
The U.S. Ski Team’s Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) took the lead for the U.S. Tuesday, taking 17th during a World Cup night slalom in Austria. Marlies Schild of Austria won. Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) did not finish but still leads the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup overall by 112 points.
Schleper, who was the only U.S. athlete to make it to the second run, was knifing the top of the Hermann Maier Streck and had a decent lead, but lost some time in the middle to match where she started the second run with 17th.
“I was supporting the whole team on the second run and I didn’t execute as well as I could have, a couple mistakes here and there,” Schleper said. “It was set like a highway again, so you had to go full-risk and I think I probably risked it 80 percent when I should have been going 120 but I’m psyched to get points.”
According to U.S. Women’s Alpine Head Coach Jim Tracy, the risk would have made a difference for Schleper.
“Sarah had a good first run and she was solid in the second run. I think that she could have probably let it go and attacked more in the middle of the course,” Tracy said. “But still, it’s a top 20 and we’re not complaining.”
The good news for Schleper was grabbing additional World Cup points, which will get her back inside the top 30 on the slalom start list.
For Tracy, being in the top 30 will enable her to perform better in slalom.
“It means she will have a better starting position in the slalom, and that’s a lot of it,” Tracy said.
After an incredible World Cup sweep in Haus, Vonn has a minor slip up in the night slalom, straddling a gate with her right ski midway down the course in the first run for a DNF.
“The snow was perfect today and the course was really fun. I felt like I was skiing better than I have been since my hand injury, but things like this happen. It can’t always go well,” Vonn said. “I’m just going to stay positive and train some more before Maribor and keep working hard.”
The event as a whole, though, was a success as far as Tracy is concerned.
“It was a really great event here. The slalom race was awesome, it really was,” Tracy said. “There had to be about 15,000 people.”
The women now move on to races this weekend in Maribor – the last time they will be in action before the Olympic Team is named on Jan. 25.
OFFICIAL RESULTS – Women’s Slalom
1. Marlies Schild, Austria, 1:37.89; 2. Maria Riesch, Germany, 1:38.23; 3. Kathrin Zettel, Austria, 1:38.31; 4. Tanja Poutiainen, Finland, 1:38.70; 5. Katharina Duerr, Germany, 1:39.23.
17. Sarah Schleper, Vail, CO, 1:41.08; 36. Sterling Grant, Amery, WI, 50.90; 40. Hailey Duke, Boise, ID, 51.08; 50. Julia Mancuso, Olympic Valley, CA, 51.87; 55. Kaylin Richardson, Edina, MI, 52.49; DNF: Lindsey Vonn, Vail, CO.
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