Tina Weirather

Tina Weirather wins St. Moritz super-G; top American 16th

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Back in Europe, the U.S. women’s speed team earned, at best, a mixed bag of results in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Saturday.

Stacey Cook led the American contingent in 16th place in the third super-G of the World Cup season, nearly two seconds behind winner Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein. Swede Kajsa Kling was second, followed by Austrian Anna Fenninger.

On Sunday, the U.S. put two women in the top 10 of the Lake Louise, Alberta, super-G — Lindsey Vonn and Leanne Smith. Vonn is skipping this weekend’s races but has set the next time she will compete.

Smith failed to finish the course Saturday.

Cook, who was fourth in last season’s downhill standings, posted her best World Cup super-G result since March 13, 2008. She was 18th in Sunday’s Lake Louise super-G.

“I’ve just been on a mission all summer to get better at super-G,” Cook said. “I’ve been OK at it for too long, and I’m ready to step it up. The big move-ups are the first step. I’m trying to get in that top-30 starting position and get some better starts and then hopefully some top-10s, maybe top-fives by the end of the year.”

Julia Mancuso, who was one of the world’s top three super-G skiers the last three seasons, continued her early season struggles by finishing 20th. Her results in eight overall races this season: 27, 20, 29, DNF, 26, 21, 17, 20.

Laurenne Ross recorded a run that would have put her outside the top 30, but she was disqualified.

Meanwhile, Weirather, 24, continued her ascent in speed events with her second career World Cup win. She’s now made the podium in four of the last five World Cup races and has posted no worse than the fifth fastest time in the seven races she has finished this season.

Weirather moved up to second in the World Cup overall standings behind Swiss Lara Gut, who finished seventh Saturday, and is looking like a medal contender in at least downhill and super-G at the Olympics.

The women’s Alpine World Cup continues with a giant slalom Sunday.

St. Moritz super-G
1. Tina Weirather (LIE) 1:17.38
2. Kajsa Kling (SWE) 1:17.69
3. Anna Fenninger (AUT) 1:17.77
4. Elisabeth Goergl (AUT) 1:18.30
5. Nicole Hosp (AUT) 1:18.35
6. Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) 1:18.42
7. Lara Gut (SUI) 1:18.50
8. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 1:18.51
9. Tessa Worley (FRA) 1:18.53
10. Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) 1:18.72
16. Stacey Cook (USA) 1:19.12
20. Julia Mancuso (USA) 1:19.30
DQ. Laurenne Ross (USA)
DNF. Leanne Smith (USA)
DNS. Megan McJames (USA)

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Katie Ledecky beaten in NCAA Championships individual medley

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Katie Ledecky lost an NCAA Championships race for the first time in eight career finals, taking second in the 400-yard individual medley on Friday.

Stanford teammate Ella Eastin easily beat Ledecky by 3.69 seconds and grabbed the American and NCAA records from Ledecky, too. Eastin’s 3:54.60 is 1.93 seconds faster than Ledecky’s time from the Pac-12 Championships last month.

How did she do it?

“Honestly, I don’t know,” Eastin said on ESPNU. “I’ve built a lot of endurance this year, and it really showed.”

Eastin is decorated in her own right. She three-peated as NCAA 400-yard IM champion and held the American record in the event before Ledecky lowered it last month.

Eastin would have made the 2017 World Championships team had she not been disqualified for an illegal turn after finishing in second place at nationals.

Ledecky, a sophomore, has never contested the 400m IM at a U.S. Championships, Olympics or world championships, nor did she race the 400-yard IM at 2017 NCAAs. She raced the 400 IM instead of the 200 freestyle on Friday.

All of Ledecky’s races at major meets before Friday were in freestyle events. Her only defeat in a major international meet individual final was the 200m freestyle at 2017 Worlds.

Ledecky won five NCAA titles last year and the last two nights anchored the 800-yard freestyle relay and captured the 500-yard freestyle by eight seconds.

Meet results are here.

Later Friday, Lilly King of Indiana three-peated in the 100-yard breaststroke, breaking her American and NCAA records and winning in 56.25 seconds. King is also the Olympic and world champion in the 100m breast, plus the world-record holder.

“Always excited to get the record, but was really hoping to break 56 today,” King said.

Louisville’s Mallory Comerford became the second woman after Missy Franklin to break 1:40 in the 200-yard freestyle, winning in 1:39.80. Co-Olympic 100m free champ Simone Manuel of Stanford was third. Comerford and Ledecky tied for the 2017 NCAA 200 free title.

Stanford’s Ally Howe won the 100-yard backstroke in 49.70, one hundredth shy of her NCAA and American records. Olympic 100m backstroke silver medalist Kathleen Baker of Cal-Berkeley was third.

NCAAs conclude Saturday. Ledecky swims the 1,650-yard freestyle. She is the overwhelming favorite, having gone 35 seconds faster than anyone this season.

Ledecky hasn’t discussed with Stanford whether she will return for her junior season or turn pro, according to the school.

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World vault champion out for all of 2018

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Maria Paseka, a two-time world vault champion and four-time Olympic medalist, said she is out for the rest of the year after December back surgery, according to Russian news agency TASS.

Paseka, 22, earned the lone Russian title at worlds in October, repeating as champion on vault by edging American Jade Carey by .084. She handed Simone Biles her only defeat in a 2015 Worlds final, also on vault.

Paseka also took vault silver and bronze medals at the last two Olympics, as well as helping Russia to team silvers in London and Rio.

As Paseka is sidelined, Russia’s two other recent headliners are on the comeback trail.

Viktoria Komova, the all-around silver medalist at the 2011 Worlds and 2012 Olympics who missed Rio due to a back injury, competed in December for the first time since 2015.

Aliya Mustafina, a seven-time Olympic medalist with two uneven bars golds, is expected to return to competition this spring from June childbirth.

The world championships are in Doha in October.

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