CARRABASSETT VALLEY — In a field that featured plenty of decorated Olympic athletes, a relative unknown stole the spotlight in the men’s super-G on Wednesday.

Drew Duffy edged out Steven Nyman by four hundredths of a second to claim the  U.S. Alpine super-G title at Sugarloaf on Wednesday. Duffy entered the race with 26.51 seed points, placing him roughly in the middle of the pack of 49 skiers. 

“I was pretty pumped,” Duffy said. “I didn’t really expect that. I was hoping to squeak in the top 10, so it’s pretty exciting.”

Wednesday’s victory was the second of Duffy’s career in the super-G. His other super-G victory came at Burke Mountain in 2014. Duffy also grabbed a first-place finish in the giant slalom in 2012 in Stratton, Vt. Still, those two victories pale in comparison to Wednesday’s. 

Duffy, who joined the U.S. Development ski team last year, was the lone skier under the age of 21 to crack the top 10. Dean Travers, skiing out of the Cayman Islands, was the next U21 finisher in 12th.

Racing 30th and not expected to vie for a spot on the podium, Duffy was loose from the beginning, able to ski pressure-free. Duffy said he wasn’t thinking too much about his run as he raced down the hill at speeds over 60 mph. When he crossed the finish line, he didn’t think he’d be sitting in first place. 

Advertisement

“I didn’t really know,” Duffy said. “It felt a little out of control. Coming through C turn here at the bottom and into the bottom flats I was just focusing on letting the skis run and it felt like I was going pretty fast.” 

Duffy, making his third appearance at the U.S. Championships and first at Sugarloaf, entered the day having not placed better than 19th at the national event. He changed that with one run Wednesday. 

“It’s pretty cool,” Duffy said. “Pretty amazing. Just seeing Steve and Travis (Ganong) down here. I think they were just as shocked as I was.” 

Nyman settled for second, while Ganong finished on the podium in third with a run of 1:19.80. 

Duffy’s performance overshadowed Carrabassett Valley native Sam Morse’s showing. Morse has skied the Sugarloaf course countless times in his career, but Wednesday marked his first run at his home course as a U.S. Alpine Championships participant. The result wasn’t what he was hoping for in front of the hometown fans, finishing tied for 26th with Florian Szwebel.

But that didn’t wipe the smile from his face. 

Advertisement

“With these kind of guys you go in knowing you’re not the most technical, you’re not the best tucker, but if you put one together you could be right in with those guys,” Morse said. “Learning that belief at these kind of races is what’s key.” 

Like most skiers competing this week, it’s been a crazy couple days for Morse. He’s talked to nearly every member of his home state’s sports media pool, and even made an appearance at his elementary school. 

“Yesterday I got to go back to my elementary school, which is super cool,” Morse said. “I got to see all of my old teachers and all the little kids and talk to them about all the characteristics of ski racers that you could learn.” 

With all the attention, Morse said he wasn’t nervous and tried to execute his run like he had during his time at Carrabassett Valley Academy. Morse said knowing the ins and outs of the course helped him because he knew where he could take risks on the course and where he should choose to be more conservative.

However, with the competition in the field, taking risks seemed necessary. 

‘With this group of guys, you can’t be conservative,” Morse said. “I got a little low on some key turns so I kind of lost my skis coming off the pitch but I was really happy with it.” 

Andrew Weibrecht started fifth and placed seventh in 1:20.38. Tommy Ford (1:22.21) and David Chodounsky (1:22.27) finished 18th and 20th, respectively. 

#USALPINE

Sun Journal coverage of the U.S. Alpine Championship includes:


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.