The Sports Examiner

HIGHLIGHTS: U.S. women take CONCACAF U-20 crown; Shiffrin maintains overall World Cup lead; Jackson and Bowe take season skating titles!

Winners again: the U.S. women take the 2022 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship. (Photo: CONCACAF)

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Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world/updated/:

● Alpine Skiing ● The seasonal World Cup titles will be decided next week in Meribel (FRA) with American Mikaela Shiffrin leading by 56 points with four races left.

After Shiffrin scored a bronze in Friday’s Giant Slalom in Are (SWE) to stay in front of winner Petra Vlhova (SVK), neither got a medal in Saturday’s Slalom. Instead, it was Austria’s Olympic silver winner Katharina Liensberger who got her first win of the season in 1:46.18, ahead of Mina Holtmann (NOR), who won her second career World Cup individual medal.

Swiss Olympic Combined gold medalist Michelle Gisin was third (1:46.41), just 0.02 ahead of Vlhova, with Shiffrin finishing ninth (1:46.98). The American star was fourth after the first run, but had trouble on the second, finishing only 24th-best and dropping to ninth overall. Vlhova also had a tough second run – in 19th – after being second following the first run.

That leaves Shiffrin at 1,245 points heading into the last week of the season, with Vlhova – the reigning champion – at 1,189 and Federica Brignone (ITA) third at 931. Look for all three to enter all four races this week to try and raise the seasonal crystal globe!

The men’s World Cup stop was in Kranjska Gora (SLO) for two Giant Slalom races before the World Cup final in Courchevel.

Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen got his fourth win of the season on Saturday, finishing in 2:18.28, just 0.33 ahead of both Marco Odermatt (SUI) and Lucas Braathen (NOR: 2:18.61). On Sunday, Kristoffersen did it again, winning in 2:18.13, with Stefan Brennsteiner (AUT: 2:18.36) following and Odermatt third (2:18.40).

The seasonal race has Odermatt well out in front with 1,379 points to 1,050 for Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR) and 874 for Kristoffersen, with four races left.

● Athletics ● Reigning World Champion Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya ran the second-fastest women’s-only race in history to win the Nagoya Women’s Marathon on Sunday.

She was all alone by the halfway mark in 1:09:03, but had company by the 30 km mark from Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter. But Chepngetich sped up and ran away with the victory in 2:17:08, the equal-7th-fastest race ever. The Kenyan star ran the second half of the race faster than the first, in 1:08:05 and won the largest prize in marathon history at $250,000.

Salpeter was second in 2:18::45, her second-best race ever, with Japan’s Yuka Ando third in 2:22:22.

Strong performances at the NCAA Indoor Championships that finished Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama, with a world-leading performance for both men and women (all performers from the U.S. unless otherwise noted):

In the men’s events, Randolph Ross (North Carolina A&T) was already the world lead at 44.83, won the 400 m in an even a better time of 44.62, moving him to no. 3 in indoor history! And Shey Taiwo of Mississippi won the women’s hammer at 25.55 m (83-10), also improving on her world-best mark.

Among the other top men’s performances, USC’s Davonte Burnett took the 60 m in 6.50, a lifetime best and equal-6th in the world for 2022. Florida State’s Trey Cunningham won the 60 m hurdles as expected in 7.38, improving his no. 2 standing in the world from 7.40, and moving to equal-11th all-time indoors and equal-8th all-time U.S.

In the field, Oklahoma’s Vernon Turner took the high jump at 2.32 m (7-7 1/4), equaling former LSU star JuVaughn Harrison as the no. 2 performer indoors in 2022. Puerto Rico’s Ayden Owens (competing for Arkansas) won the heptathlon, scoring 6,211; he already has a better score, as does runner-up Kyle Garland of Georgia (6.200).

The women’s 60 m was hot, with Julien Alfred of St. Lucia (and Texas) the fastest at 7.04 in the heats to set a collegiate record and move to equal-2nd in the world for 2022. Oregon’s Jaydn Mays was second-fastest at 7.09, equal-7th in the world this season.

But neither won the title, as Melissa Jefferson of Coastal Carolina set a personal best of 7.09 to take the trophy, followed by Kentucky star Abby Steiner (7.10) and then Mays at 7.11 in third. Alfred ended up fifth in 7.15.

Steiner, already the world leader in the 200 m, won in 22.16, the equal-5th fastest race in history, and second this season only to her 22.09 in February. Florida frosh Talitha Diggs won the 400 m in 50.98, no. 5 in the world for 2022. Gator teammate Grace Stark won the 60 m hurdles in 7.78, moving to no. 2 in the world this season and best by an American this year.

The collegiate record in the women’s triple jump fell to Florida’s Jasmine Moore, who won at 14.57 m (47-9 3/4), improving on her own mark of 14.55 m (47-9) from January. She remains at no. 3 on the world list.

Arizona State’s Dutch discus star Jorinde van Klinken won the women’s shot at 19.08 m (62-7 1/4), making her no. 7 on the 2022 world list. Taiwo’s Ole Miss teammate Jasmine Mitchel was second in the weight at 24.94 m (81-10); that’s no. 2 on the seasonal world list.

Texas won its first indoor men’s title with 47 points over North Carolina A&T (36) and Florida scored 68 to secure the women’s championship, ahead of Texas (56).

● Badminton ● China and Thailand were the big winners at the BWF World Tour German Open in Muelheim.

Thailand claimed wins in the men’s Singles, with Kunlavut Vitidsarn defeating Lakshya Sen (IND), 21-18, 21-15 and in the Mixed Doubles, with top-seeded Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai sailing past Xuan Yi Ou and Ya Qiong Huang (CHN), 21-11, 21-9.

China dominated the women’s Singles with Bing Jiao He (CHN) defeating countrywoman Yu Fei Chen (CHN), 21-14, 27-25 and won a marathon women’s Doubles match, as Qing Chen Chen and Yi Fan Jia out-lasted Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva (BUL), 21-16, 29-30, 21-19.

Sze Fei Goh and Nur Izzuddin (MAS) won the men’s Doubles, holding off Yu Chen Liu and Xuan Yi Ou (CHN) by 23-21, 16-21, 21-14.

● Biathlon ● The next-to-last stop on the IBU World Cup tour was in Otepaa (EST), with France’s Quentin Fillon Maillet winning the 10 km Sprint and sewing up the seasonal title.

Fillon Maillet shot clean and finished in 22:27.4, trailed by Sturla Holm Laegreid (NOR: +7.2 seconds) and Benedikt Doll (GER: +11.1). It was the French star’s 10th win of the season, including his two gold-medal performances at the Beijing Winter Games.

Saturday’s 15 km Mass Start saw the second win of the season for Norway’s Vetle Christiansen, who shot clean and won in 34:29.6. He was followed by Fillon Maillet (5.9 seconds back) and Sivert Bakken of Norway (+15.5), winning his first medal of the season.

France’s Julia Simon won the women’s 7.5 km Sprint, with just one penalty, in 20:45.8, ahead of Vanessa Voigt (GER: +11.0) and Karoline Knotten (NOR: +12.8). Swedish star Elvira Oeberg won her third World Cup race of the season in the 12.5 km Mass Start, beating Denise Herrmann (GER: +4.5) and seasonal leader Marte Olsbu Roeiseland (NOR: +4.8).

With three races left in the season, Roeiseland leads with 807 with Oeberg at 725 and sister Hanna Oeberg trailing at 618.

Norway won the 4×7.5 km Mixed Relay – with Bakken, Christiansen, Tiril Eckhoff and Ingrid Tandrevold – over Sweden and France, and Laegreid and Roeiseland teamed up to win the Single Mixed Relay over Sweden and Germany.

● Cross Country Skiing ● The elimination of events in Russia made this weekend’s races in Falun (SWE) the last of the season in the FIS X-C World Cup, with another display of dominance by Norway’s Therese Johaug.

Coming off of her triple-gold-medal performance in Beijing, Johaug won the 10 km Freestyle in 22:34.4, some 35.9 seconds up on Sweden’s Jonna Sundling and 36.3 ahead of American star Jessie Diggins. Fellow American Rosie Brennan was eighth.

For the season, Johaug won five races from 10-30 km and was second in two others, winning the seasonal Distance title, 735-480 over Sweden’s Frida Karlsson.

The Classical Sprint was the second win of the season for Sundling, who won in 3:21.05, 8.41 seconds ahead of Anamarija Lampic and 9.54 seconds up on teammate Maja Dahlqvist. American Julia Kern, having her best season, was fourth in 3:31.58.

The overall women’s World Cup title had long been sewn up by Russian Natalia Nepryaeva, who piled up a huge lead in the middle of the season. But the amazing Diggins continued to make history, winning twice and scoring a seasonal total of five medals to finish second at 793.

That follows up her seasonal title in 2021, the first ever by an American. At age 30, will she continue?

The men’s 15 km Freestyle was a win for Norway’s Didrik Toenseth in 31:57,6, trailed by Calle Halfvarsson (SWE: 32:06.6) and Harald Amundsen (NOR: 32:18.0). American Scott Patterson was seventh (32:39.6). It was Toenseth’s fourth career World Cup win.

France’s Richard Jouve won the Classical Sprint for his second win of the season and within eight days! He finished in 3:03.62 to edge Finn Joni Maki (3:04.11) and French teammate Lucas Chanavat (3:04.14).

The seasonal title was long ago decided for Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo, who won with 1,375 points to 878 for two-time defending champ Alexander Bolshunov of Russia. Jouve’s win gave him the seasonal Sprint title by 568-562 over Klaebo.

● Cycling ● The UCI Women’s World Tour was in Holland for the 15th Ronde van Drenthe from Assen to Hoogeveen, with the flat, 155.9 km course leading to a mass sprint at the finish.

Defending champion Lorena Wiebes suffered a tire puncture with 20 km left, but moved up and exploded to the front with 150 m to go and could not be caught, winning in 4:03:31. Italy’s Elisa Balsamo finished second, trailed by Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky, both one second back.

Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic took a strong grip on the 80th edition of Paris-Nice with a win in the challenging seventh stage, a 155.2 km race to the top of the Col de Turini on Saturday. Roglic won a five-man sprint to the line in 4:02:47, just ahead of Daniel Martinez of Colombia, with Simon Yates (GBR) two seconds behind. That gave Roglic a 47-second lead on Yates heading into Sunday’s closer in Nice.

Yates, Belgium’s Wout van Aert and Roglic raced to the finish of the final, 115.6 km stage, with Yates taking the victory and van Aert and Roglic finishing nine seconds behind. That gave Roglic the overall victory at 29:19:15, with Yates 29 seconds behind, followed by Martinez (+2:37) and then Adam Yates (GBR: +3:29).

Another Slovenian star, Tadej Pogacar, the two-time Tour de France champion, took charge of the 57th Tirreno-Adriatico with a brilliant victory on the difficult, twin-peaked sixth stage of 215 km, finishing in Carpegna.

Pogacar raced away from the field over the imposing double climb up and down the Monte Carpegna and won in 5:28:57, a full 1:03 ahead of Jonas Vingegaard (DEN) and Spain’s Mikel Landa. He entered Sunday’s final stage with a commanding lead over Vingegaard and Landa.

The final stage was a 159 km ride out and back to San Benedetto del Tronto, with a major climb early and then a flat finish, leading to an all-out sprint. German Phil Bauhaus won in 3:39:58, followed by Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA) and Australia’s Kaden Groves. The final tally showed Pogacar maintaining his 1:52 edge on Vingegaard and 2:33 on Landa for his second straight win in this race.

● Football ● The United States team won its seventh CONCACAF women’s U-20 Championship on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Mexico in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic before 110 fans (yes, 110) at the Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez.

The U.S. took the lead quickly with a third-minute goal from forward Michelle Cooper, who blocked a Mexican try at a clearance and banged the ball into the net. Striker Alyssa Thompson earned a penalty kick in the 41st minute; midfielder Talia DellaPeruta scored the goal for a 2-0 lead at the half.

Neither side scored in the second half; the U.S. ended with a 12-10 edge on shots. Cooper finished with eight goals in the tournament and was the top scorer. A total of 12 American players scored, with forward Andrea Kitahata getting seven, forward Simone Jackson and forward Avery Patterson, six each, and DellaPeruta a total of five.

Amazingly, the U.S. finished with a clean sheet for the entire tournament, scoring 49 goals and giving up none! Mia Justus was the keeper for the first and third group-stage games and the quarterfinal win; Neeku Purcell was in goal for one group game and the round of 16, semifinal and final wins.

Mexico ended with a 27-3 scoring line and also qualified – along with the U.S. – for the FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup to be held on Costa Rica this summer. Canada finished third and also qualified for the Women’s U-20 World Cup by defeating Puerto Rico, 2-0. The Canadians scored 32 and gave up one goal in the tournament, losing 1-0 to Mexico in its semifinal.

This was the eighth win by the U.S. in the 11 editions of the event, the second in a row and six of the last seven. The U.S. (8), Canada (2) and Mexico (2) have been the only winners; there was no championship game in the first tournament in 2002, so the U.S. and Mexico shared the title as group winners.

● Freestyle Skiing ● The Slopestyle skiers were in Tignes (FRA) for their penultimate weekend of competition, but heavy winds blew away the finals for both men and women and even the women’s qualifying round on Friday.

That left Norway’s Birk Ruud – the Olympic champ in Big Air – as the winner of the men’s event, based on his qualifying run that earned 88.50 points, ahead of Canada’s Max Moffat (87.25) and Olympic bronze winner Jesper Tjader (SWE) third at 86.00. American Mac Forehand was fourth (84.50).

The Moguls skiers were in Chiesa in Valmalenco (ITA) for a Dual Moguls make-up event from January, with a familiar results: a win for Canadian star Mikael Kingsbury.

Kingsbury defeated long-time rival Ikuma Horishima (JPN) in the final, extending his all-time record of World Cup wins to 72. Sweden’s Olympic Moguls winner Walter Wallberg was third, beating countryman Ludvig Fjallstrom in the bronze-medal match.

Olympic Moguls gold medalist Jakara Anthony (AUS) got her third World Cup win of the season, finishing ahead of 2018 Olympic winner Perrine Laffont (FRA). The all-American bronze-medal race saw Jaelin Kauf edge Kai Owens for her first World Cup medal of the season.

In Reiteralm (AUT), Sunday’s Ski Cross finals, Canada’s Reece Howden got his second medal of the season and first win, beating Ryoi Sugai (JPN) and Alex Fiva (SUI) to the line. It’s Howden’s sixth career World Cup gold.

Swedish star and Olympic champ Sandra Naeslund won the women’s race, her 10th win of the season (in 11 races) and seventh in a row! She finished ahead of Canada’s Marielle Thompson – the only one to beat Naeslund this season – and fellow Canadian Brittany Phelan.

● Nordic Combined ● Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber has owned this sport for three seasons, but with injuries and Covid dogging him since mid-December, was in a fight to try for his fourth straight World Cup title.

Feeling better since the Beijing Games concluded, Riiber re-took the seasonal lead on Saturday in Schonach (GER), winning the 106 m jumping and 10 km race in 23:48.9, some 31.2 seconds clear of Austria’s Johannes Lamparter, who had been the World Cup leader. Norway’s Large Hill Olympic gold medalist Jorgen Graabak was third in 24:33.1.

On Sunday, Riiber completed his comeback, winning in 24:23.9, over Lamparter (+4.2) and Vinzenz Geiger (GER: 24:29.0) and winning his fourth straight World Cup. He finished with 1,383 points, just enough to move Lamparter to second (1,362), with Geiger (979) third.

All together, Riiber won 13 of the season’s 20 races: he won seven of the first eight and won the final five.

In the women’s competition, Japan’s Anju Nakamura won the first race since early January in 14:22.3 (5 km), ahead of teammate Haruka Kasai (14:33.4) and Annika Sieff (ITA: 15:01.5). It was the first time in the seven races held this season that Norway’s Gyda Westvold Hansen, 19, did not win; she did not finish, but has long wrapped up the seasonal title.

Westvold Hansen came back to win the season’s finale on Sunday in 14:58,9, trailed by Kasai (15:06.7) and Ema Volavsek (SLO: 15:15.5). Westvold Hansen finished with 700 points to outdistance teammate Ida Hagen (411) and Volavsek (387).

● Ski Jumping ● The men’s World Cup paused for a week for the Ski-Flying World Championships off the giant 240 m hill in Vikersund (NOR), with home favorite Marius Lindvik victorious by 854.2-844.3 over Slovenian Timi Zajc.

In fact, Slovenia dominated the event, finishing 2-4-5-6 with Peter Prevc, Anze Lanisek and Domen Prevc, but ended up with only one medal as Stefan Kraft (AUT) took the bronze with 837.5 points. It’s a perfect cap to Lindvik’s season, which also includes the Olympic Large Hill gold medal.

That Slovenian quartet teamed up to win the team title with 1,711.5 points to 1,573.5 for Germany and 1,559.6 for Norway.

The women’s World Cup season ended early this weekend in Oberhof (GER) due to the cancellation of the Blue Bird tour of Russia as a result of its invasion of Ukraine. But the late-season rush of the Slovenian stars continued as Olympic champ Ursa Bogataj got her second win of the season, but her ninth medal, scoring 266.8 to 261.1 for teammate Nika Kriznar and 254.8 for German Katharina Althaus.

The season finale on Sunday was a Slovenian sweep, with Bogataj winning again (277.4), followed by Kriznar (273.1) and Ema Klinec (262.4).

Austria’s Marita Kramer was fourth, but had won the seasonal title long before. She finished with 1,316 points, ahead of Kriznar (1,191) and Bogataj (1,151). The crystal globe is a modest recompense for Kramer, who missed the Beijing Winter Games due to a Covid positive.

● Snowboard ● The Snowcross season continued in Reiteralm (AUT) with a first-time winner this season in Lorenzo Sommariva of Italy, who won his third career World Cup individual title by beating Jakob Dusek (AUT) in the final. Swiss Kalle Koblet won his second career World Cup medal in third.

Britain’s Charlotte Bankes may have been eliminated in the quarterfinals in Beijing, but she scored a fourth World Cup win this season in seven races, defeating two-time winner (and 2018 Olympic champ) Michela Moioli (ITA) and Canada’s Audrey McManiman, a first-time World Cup medalist.

The Parallel racing tour continued in Piancavallo (ITA), with home fans cheering for a 1-2 finish for Italians Marc Hofer – his first career World Cup medal – and Edwin Coratti, with Korean Sang-ho Lee third.

The women’s race ended in a tie, with Japan’s Miki Tsubaki and Swiss veteran Julie Zogg, with Tsubaki taking her first World Cup win. German Ramona Theresia Hofmeister was third, her fourth medal of the season.

● Speed Skating ● The ISU Speed Skating World Cup Final closed the season before a big crowd at the famed Thialf ice arena in Heerenveen (NED), with double Olympic Champion Niels van der Poel (SWE) winning in his final competitive appearance.

Still just 25, van der Poel won the 5,000 m in convincing fashion, timing 6:08.815 to win by 6.31 seconds over Belgium’s Bart Swings, with Italians Davide Ghiotto and Michele Malfatti going 3-4. Van der Poel won the seasonal Long Distances World Cup with 360 points to 272 for Ghiotto.

Olympic 1,500 m champ Kjeld Nuis won the men’s 1,000 m, leading a Dutch sweep with Olympic 1,000 m winner Thomas Krol and Hein Otterspeer: 1:08.051-1:08.243-1:08.702. Krol took the seasonal World Cup title with 282 points to 270 for Nuis and 238 for Otterspeer in another Dutch sweep.

Nuis came back to win the 1,500 m as well as Sunday, timing 1:43.486 to Krol’s 1:43.797. American Emery Lehman was sixth and teammate Joey Mantia was 12th. But Mantia was the seasonal World Cup winner with 280 points to 256 for Connor Howe (CAN) and 224 for Nuis.

Japan’s Tatsuya Shinhama swept the 500 m sprints, winning over Canada’s Laurence Debreuil on Saturday (34.384-34.532) and over Poland’s Piotr Michalski, 34.487-34.618, on Sunday. However, Debreuil, who barely got to the meet in time after testing negative for Covid, won the seasonal title with 614 points to 586 for Shinhama.

Belgium’s Swings won the Mass Start in 7:43.910 and the seasonal title with 652 points, ahead of Italy’s Andrea Giovanni, second in the race (7:44.210) and in the final standings (550). American Ian Quinn finished eighth in the race and sixth in the seasonal standings.

The women’s 500 m underscored the dominance of American Erin Jackson, who won the first race in 37.329, ahead of Femke Kok (NED) and Japan’s Nao Kodaira, with fellow Americans Brittany Bowe fourth and Kimi Goetz ninth.

On Sunday, Jackson and Bowe went 1-2, in 37.324 and 37.558, with Goetz sixth. That gave Jackson the seasonal title with 660 points to 572 for Kodaira and 432 for Poland’s Kaja Ziomek. Bowe, who missed three races, finished 10th with 348 points.

Bowe was back in action in the 1,000 m and finished second to Beijing winner Miho Takagi, 1:13.285 to 1:14.075, with Goetz third (1:15.104). However, Bowe claimed the seasonal title with 330 points to 288 for Takagi with Kodaira at 268 and Goetz fourth (227).

The women’s 1,500 m was a triumph for Japan’s Olympic silver winner Takagi in 1:53.324, beating Antoinette de Jong (NED), Ragne Wiklund (NOR) and Olympic champ Ireen Wust (NED). Bowe was seventh. Takagi won the seasonal title from Bowe by 300-256, with Japan’s Ayano Sato third (252).

Olympic superstar Irene Schouten (NED) won the women’s 3,000 m in 3:56.829, ahead of Wiklund (3:57.152) and Czech icon Martina Sabilkova (3:57.165). Schouten needed the win to take the seasonal victory with 300 points, edging Raglund (290), with Francesca Lollobrigida (ITA) third at 266.

Schouten also won the Mass Start race in 8:53.670, beating teammate Marijke Groenewoud to the line by 0.23, with Lollobrigida third. But the Italian took the seasonal crown with 602 points to 578 for Canada’s Ivanie Blondin, with Schouten third (506).

● Water Polo ● /Updated/ The men’s and women’s Intercontinental Cup tournaments were held in Lima (PER), with qualifying opportunities for the 2022 FINA Worlds.

In the men’s tournament, the U.S., Australia and Canada were all 4-1 in the preliminary round, with Brazil fourth (2-3). Australia felled Brazil in one semifinal, 11-6, with the U.S. edging Canada, 10-9, after a 7-7 tie after three quarters.

The U.S. won the title with a 7-6 win, leading 4-1 at the half and 7-4 after three quarters. Brazil upset Canada, 11-8, for the bronze medal and both advance to the World Championships in Budapest.

The women’s tournament saw Australia, a quarterfinalist at the Tokyo Games, sail through the round robin at 6-0 to win the gold medal, with Canada at 5-1 and the U.S. – with mostly a junior squad – at 4-2, taking the bronze. Brazil (3-3) and Argentina (2-4) gained spots at the Budapest World Championships.

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