Team USA doubles up in Aspen with four athletes winning NorAm and U.S. titles
| Danelle Umstead and her guide Rob Umstead swept the podium on the first day of combined NorAm and U.S. national championship competition.
ASPEN, Colo. – Four of Team USA’s athletes doubled up on medals on the first day of competition at the International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing NorAm Cup and U.S. national championships.
After heavy snowfall postponed Monday’s downhill training, athletes returned to the slopes for downhill training as well as taking one run for the NorAm cup and one run for the national championships.
2010 downhill bronze medalist Danelle Umstead and her guide Rob Umstead (Park City, Utah) won both titles in the women’s visually impaired field. Staci Mannella (Randolph, N.J.) took silver in both events, though Umstead bested her time by more than six seconds in each race.
Two days shy of her 18th birthday, Stephanie Jallen (Harding, Pa.) won two gold medals in the women’s standing class. U.S. teammate Melanie Schwartz (Aspen, Colo.) was just 0.7 seconds behind Jallen in the national championship race, but Jallen bested Schwartz by more than two seconds in the NorAm cup.
Four-time Paralympic alpine skiing medalist Alana Nichols (Farmington, N.M.) doubled up with two wins in the women’s sitting class. Nichols was dominant in both races, finishing more than three seconds ahead of teammate Laurie Stephens (Wenham, Mass.) in the national championship and more than five seconds ahead of Stephens in the NorAm.
Vancouver 2010 downhill silver medalist Mark Bathum (Mercer Island, Wash.) and his guide Cade Yamamoto (Quincy, Wash.) finished atop the podium twice today in the men’s visually impaired field. Bathum was consistent across both races, finishing with times of 1:17.85 and 1:17.05, respectively.
In the men’s standing class, there was a close battle for the podium, as Ralph Green (Brooklyn, N.Y.) claimed the NorAm title, but it was Jon Lujan (Littleton, Colo.) who claimed the national title. Lujan and Green were within a second of each other in the national championship run. Jamie Stanton (Clinton Township, Mich.) took silver behind Green in the NorAm, with just 1.3 seconds separating first and second place.
Andrew Kurka (Palmer, Alaska) and Tyler Walker (Franconia, N.H.) traded places in the men’s sitting class, with Walker taking home the NorAm title and Kurka winning the national title. Kurka and Walker’s national championship runs marked the closest gold-medal battle of the day, as the finishing times were within 0.6 seconds of each other. Kurka’s finish time in the NorAm was also within a second of Walker’s.
Other 2014 Paralympic Team nominees competing today included Ian Jansing (Granby, Colo.), Chris Devlin-Young (Bethlehem, N.H.), Jasmin Bambur (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Heath Calhoun (Bristol, Tenn.)
Competition runs through Thursday in Aspen, with the NorAm super-G and national super combined and super-G. This is Team USA’s last domestic competition before competing at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals in Tarvisio, Italy Feb. 24-17, and the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games March 8-16.
Complete results and more information are available at Paralympic.org.