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Skiing - 17. March 2008.

McJames Wins Last GS of NorAm Season

WILMINGTON, N.Y. (March 15) - On a warm, cloudy day when temperatures and conditions could have dictated the outcome, Megan McJames (Park City, UT) had the fastest times of both runs Saturday at Whiteface Mountain to claim victory in the final NorAm Cup giant slalom race of the season. McJames also secured the GS title. She had been the 2007 NorAm GS runner-up. With the mercury above 40 degrees in the afternoon, McJames bolted down the Thruway and Draper's Drop trails in times of one minute, 10.15 seconds and 1:08.34 for a two-run total of 2:18.49.

"It was a little bumpier running 30th but not so bad you couldn't get a good run,” she said in the finish area. "The second run was very turny and you had to keep the speed up. I just pointed them (skis) down.”

The opening run, on a track that dropped 1,240 vertical feet through 45 gates, resulted in a high rate of attrition. A total of 73 left the start gate in the morning with just 48 advancing to the afternoon portion.

McJames, who has trained at Whiteface in camps in recent years, wasn't the only skier who benefited from great course preparation before the competition and regular maintenance during the runs. Six of the final eight racers in the flip-30 second run posted times under 1:09.

The triumph ended a prosperous week at Whiteface for McJames, who also skied to first and second places in super G events and took fifth in the super combined. Now it's off to the nationals next week in Maine.

"I'm trying to be good in all events,” she continued. "Super G is one of my better events and I also want to do well in downhill. Hopefully, these races here will give me confidence for next week.”

Canadian Emilie Desforges was a distant second. The Mont Tremblant skier, third in the overall final NorAm standings, found herself on the podium regularly this week. She was fourth in the opening leg in 1:10.92 and improved two spots with a 1:08.43 to total 2:19.35.

Leanne Smith (Conway, NH) clocked 1:10.54 and 1:08.90 for third place for a final tally of 2.19.44. Smith entered the GS finale with a chance to take the discipline title, but McJames would have none of it. Smith trailed her by .4 after one run, and although Smith finished third in the race, she was able to secure second in the standings.

In addition to settling the GS race, the United States clinched the ladies NorAm Nations Cup crown. Canada was second and Austria third.

One event remains before the NorAm Finals conclude with men's GS on Sunday with run times at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Then the racers will head to the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships at Sugarloaf, ME for national title races March 21-26.

Lake Placid, N.Y. - March 15, 2008

Women's Giant Slalom

1. Megan McJames, Park City, UT, 2:18.49
2. Emilie Desforges, Canada, 2:19.35
3. Leanne Smith, Conway, NH, 2:19.44
4. Shona Rubens, Canada, 2:19.83
5. Marie-Pier Prefontaine, Canada, 2:20.02
6. Jessica Kelley, Starksboro, VT, 2:20.67
8. Chelsea Marshall, Pittsfield, VT, 2:21.45
9. Courtney Hammond, Mercer Island, WA, 2:21.90
10. Katie Hitchcock, Bedford, NH, 2:22.12
11. Jilyne McDonald, Bullington, VT, 2:22.79
11. Jenny Lathrop, North Conway, NH, 2:22.79
14. Julia Ford, Plymouth, NH, 2:23.29
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