WENATCHEE — U.S. Ski Team athlete Laurenne Ross easily won her second championship Monday at the Western Region Elite Spring Series at Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort.
Under sunny skies, Ross, 23, of Klamath Falls, Ore., had a combined time of 2 minutes, 11.94 seconds in the giant slalom, nearly two seconds faster than runner-up Matea Ferk, 24, of Crotia, who finished in 2:13.91. Emma Naatz, 18, of Salt Lake City, placed third in 2:14.47.
U.S. Olympian Sarah Schleper just missed medaling, finishing fourth in 2:14.65.
In the other Spring Series race held Monday, Sandy Vietze of Green Mountain, Vt., captured his second men’s slalom title.
The expected battle between Ross and U.S. teammate Brooke Wales, 21, materialized for the first run, with Ross clocking the fastest time and Wales the second fastest. But Wales, a Mission Ridge skier who also has won two titles at this Spring Series, struggled on her second run, collecting only the 48th-fastest time.
Wales ended up 20th overall in 2:18.44.
Mission Ridge Ski Team’s Kyla Miller continued to impress. The 15-year-old finished 28th overall in the giant slalom but sixth among J2 class skiers (15- and 16-year-olds).
Teammates Haley Hanseler (34th), Lindsay Ahmann (43rd) and Taylor Bauernfeind (69th) rounded out the MRST finishers in the event.
Meanwhile, for the second straight day, Vietze (a combined time of 1:42.06) edged Bryce Bennett (1:42.63) of Squaw Valley, Idaho, to win the men’s slalom. Taking third was Nicholas Krause of Stratton Mountain, Vt., in 1:43.66.
Mission Ridge’s top three finishers all skied up for the day. Miles Sweek, wearing bib number 33, came in 14th; Alec Jones, bib 42, was 14th overall; and Kristoff Fowler, bib 27, claimed 18th place.
On Tuesday and Wednesday at the Spring Series, the women will participate in the slalom and the men will switch gears and race in the giant slalom.
The 21-year-old Wales, a member of the U.S. Ski Team, swept to another victory, coming away with the women’s giant slalom title in a combined time of 2 minutes, 12.48 seconds for her two runs at Mission.
She also captured one of two super-G women’s races on Saturday.
As was the case in her first win of the weekend, Wales held off Ross, who was clocked in 2:12.99 on Sunday. Placing third was Rose Caston, 19, of Park City, Utah, in 2:15.35.
The other top Mission Ridge finisher in the giant slalom was Clare Wise (21st). Teammate Hanseler was in 18th place after her run but she didn’t finish her second.
Miller (32nd overall) was the seventh-fastest J2 class skier on the day.
In the men’s super-G on Sunday — a race that had originally been scheduled for Friday — Miles Fink-Debray, 24, of Sun Valley, Idaho, came away with the win in 1:11.28, just 0.02 seconds ahead of U.S. Ski Team member Brennan Rubie, 21, of Salt Lake City. Brian McLaughlin, 18, of Green Mountain, Vt., was third in 1:11.90.
The Ridge’s Carl Noges was his team’s best skier in the event, coming in 10th place. Alec Jones was 21st and Cai Yamamoto was 24th.
In the third race held Sunday, Sandy Vietze of Green Mountain, Vt., captured the men’s slalom with a combined time of 1:57.79. Bryce Bennett of Squaw Valley, Idaho, finished second in 1:57.90, followed by Sweden’s Sam Monsen in 1:58.29.
Mission Ridge was led by Jones’ 23rd placing.