New Castle’s McKennis skis to 12th in Switzerland |

New Castle’s McKennis skis to 12th in Switzerland

Staff and wire reports
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Alice McKennis, of the US, speeds down the course during practice for an alpine ski, Women's World Cup downhill, in Crans Montana, Switzerland, Thursday, March 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

CRANS MONTANA, Switzerland – With a 12th-place finish at Saturday’s World Cup stop at Crans Montana, Switzerland, New Castle Alpine skier Alice McKennis locked up a spot in next weekend’s World Cup Finals.

McKennis, who made her Olympic debut in Vancouver last month, is now 17th in World Cup downhill points. The top 25 women in each discipline advance to the finals, which will be held next weekend in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Also by virtue of her standing, McKennis will automatically be rostered on the U.S. Ski Team’s A squad next season.

McKennis’ Saturday run of 1 minutes, 36.38 seconds placed her behind only Vail’s Lindsey Vonn (1:35.26) among American women.

Vonn won her third straight downhill title Saturday and tied Bode Miller for the most career World Cup victories by an American at 32.

She defeated Johanna Schnarf of Italy by a mere 0.01 seconds in her first race since the Vancouver Olympics, where she won gold in the downhill.

“It’s been a great season and I’m really happy with everything that’s happened,” Vonn said. “I think of all the titles, I am most proud of winning the Olympic downhill gold – that was the highlight of the season for me.”

Vonn clinched the Crystal Globe for the downhill title by increasing her lead to 189 points over Maria Riesch of Germany with just one race left. Marianne Abderhalden of Switzerland was third, 0.38 seconds behind.

Vonn earned her sixth win in seven World Cup downhill races this season. She extended her lead in the overall World Cup standings to 197 points ahead of Riesch, who was sixth.

Anja Paerson of Sweden, who is third in the overall and downhill standings, broke off her run after an apparent problem with her goggles.

A dramatic change of conditions at the top of the course midway through the event allowed several slower skiers to post impressive times, including Schnarf and Abderhalden who celebrated their first World Cup podium finishes. Marusa Ferk of Slovenia was fourth, followed by Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg, a surprise winner in the giant slalom at the Olympics.

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