SR Staff Report
Photo: U.S. Ski Team
U.S. Ski Team veteran and Olympian Jared Goldberg held off two Canadian skiers in the opening race of the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships in Sugarloaf, Maine, to earn the crown of national champion Wednesday morning. Goldberg now will hold the title as the three-time national downhill champion; the first victory was in 2012.
Goldberg, 30, finished with a time of 1:10.34, three-tenths of a second ahead of Canadian Jeffrey Read, in second. Read’s teammate Broderick Thompson finished in third, just one one-hundredth of a second back.
On the women’s side, it was an American podium sweep, with Bella Wright decisively taking the win with a time of 1:12.83. Just behind the 24-year-old Salt Lake native and into the second position was teammate Jacqueline Wiles, a 10-year national team veteran. Wiles, 29, was .76 seconds off of Wright’s winning time. Rounding out the podium into third place was Keely Cashman in 1:13.62.
Wright said of the national championship, “It feels amazing. I think this year has had its challenges and also its great moments. I’m just excited to be back in the U.S. racing here.” The last time the event was held at Sugarloaf, three years ago, Wright—a Beijing 2022 Olympian—was still trying to qualify for the national team.
“Just to think of the road that I’ve come from then to now is so exciting and heartwarming and I’m grateful to have my teammates here,” Wright said.
Goldberg described how he felt about the course and his thoughts after seeing his results at the bottom of the run. “I felt like I was really pushing the limits and on the limit. This course was pretty swingy as we say, and turny,” said Goldberg.
Both downhill champions came to the U.S. Ski Team out of Snowbird Sports Education Foundation in Utah.
Carrabassett Valley native Sam Morse, a U.S. Ski Team member since 2015, was feeling right at home and finished just off the podium in fourth. Forty-seven men started the race. There were two DNFs. The entire 27-strong women’s field completed the downhill.
Among juniors, Lauren Macuga was the fastest on the women’s side, while Isaiah Nelson was the fastest among the men. Both athletes are fresh of their 2022 Alpine Junior World Ski Championships medals, with Macuga grabbing bronze in downhill, and Nelson crowned World Juniors super-G champion.
The downhills were contested on Sugarloaf’s Narrow Gauge trail, whose name honors the area’s logging history. Over the years the Narrow Gauge trail has hosted many of the world’s biggest alpine events, including men’s and women’s World Cup races in 1971, and the first official FIS Alpine Junior World Championships in 1984.
This is the eighth time that Sugarloaf has hosted the U.S. Alpine Championships, which continue through April 1. The series also includes the conclusion of the HomeLight Foundation Series—the NorAm Cup Finals.
Up next is the U.S. Alpine Championships super-G for both men and women, on Thursday, followed by the HomeLight Foundation Series super-G on Friday for both men and women.
Release courtesy of U.S. Ski & Snowboard.