Sam Morse (USA 2 bib), pictured here with Libby Gibson, Foreste Peterson and Ty Sprock, finished second among U18's Sunday and 17th overall in downhill at the FIS Alpine Junior World Championships. (Barbara Peterson)
JANSA, Slovakia (March 2) - Brian McLaughlin (Topsfield, MA; Green Mountain Valley School) and Sam Morse (Carrabassett Valley, ME; Carrabassett Valley Academy) finished 16-17 to lead the U.S. Ski Team in men's downhill Sunday at the FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships. Morse, who also competed later that afternoon in the Nations Team Event, was second among athletes under 18 to stand on the U18 podium. Sandy Vietze (Warren, VT; Green Mountain Valley School) also finished inside the top group with 29th behind race winner Adrian Smiseth Sejersted of Norway. The next medal event in Jasna is women's super G on March 3.
Brian McLaughlin (Topsfield, MA; Green Mountain Valley School) and Sam Morse (Carrabassett Valley, ME; Carrabassett Valley Academy) finished 16th and 17th respectively in the FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships men's downhill.
Morse, who also competed in the Nations Team Event later Sunday afternoon, was second in the downhill among U18 athletes.
Sandy Vietze (Warren, VT; Green Mountain Valley School) also finished inside the top group with 29th. Tanner Farrow (Ketchum, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) was 34th, Sam Dupratt (Park City, UT; Park City Ski Education Foundation) 42nd and Nick Kruase (Northboro, MA; Stratton Mountain School) did not finish.
The race was run from the super G start due to swirling winds at the top of the slope, which remained variable throughout the medal event.
Gold went to Norway's Adrian Smiseth Sejersted, followed by Thomas Dressen of Germany and Austrian Marco Schwarz.
A Nations Team Event featuring Morse, Ty Sprock (Stateline, NV; Treble Cone Ski Academy), Foreste Peterson (Berkeley, CA; Squaw Valley Ski Team) and Libby Gibson (Jamaica, VT; Ski and Snowboard Club Vail) was held after the men's downhill.
Team USA faced the host nation of Slovakia in the first round and lost in a tie breaker. Morse and Gibson won their heats, Peterson lost to the women's slalom gold medalist and Sprock went out in his heat. Gold went to Sweden followed by Switzerland and Germany.
Medal action continues Monday at Jasna with women's super G.
QUOTES Randy Pelkey, Head Coach Men's Development Team I'm pleased with the way our guys skied. If you look at the times, it was a pretty tight race and it's great to see Sam [Morse] right in there among the other guys in his age group.
There was some swirling wind and the track did improve as the race went on, but the guys who finished top three certainly deserved to be there. It was a real deal podium. The slippers were able to move out the snow a bit more which made for a different surface for the later start numbers. It became an opportunity and the medalists took advantage of that.
We drew the host nation in the team event, which was tough, but our kids were going for it. Sam [Morse] and Libby [Gibson] won their heats. Foreste [Peterson] drew the slalom gold medalist and Ty [Sprock] was going for it against the young Zampa, but went out. In all, they were skiing to win.