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Wilson gets edge up on Tichy in win

Ryan Wilson has raced in every Atmore Memorial since he was 15 and had come close to winning the overall title, only to be thwarted by talented Canadian Michael Tichy.

Ryan Wilson has raced in every Atmore Memorial since he was 15 and had come close to winning the overall title, only to be thwarted by talented Canadian Michael Tichy.

But Wilson has gotten better with age. The 20-year-old from Red Wing, Minn., is a stronger, faster skier, and on Sunday, he capped a dominating weekend at Spirit Mountain by winning the Atmore Cup, given to the overall winners of the three-day event. Julia Wong of Milwaukee had a solid final day in taking the women's title.

Wilson took first in both of his slalom runs on Sunday, completing a sweep by winning all six of his runs over theweekend.

While Sunday's temperature was below zero, conditions were less blustery than on Saturday.

"It was perfect," Wilson said. "It was cold, but you just have to learn to block that out. You could do whatever you wanted out there with your skis. Everything for me seems to be coming around."

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Apparently so. Wilson completed two runs down the Bear Claw course in 1 minute, 34.81 seconds, more than 2 seconds ahead of Tichy (1:36.91). Wilson has raced this past year across the U.S. and in Europe and New Zealand, often going against U.S. Ski Team members. The added dedication has paid off.

Brewster McVicker, Central Division competition and development manager for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, had high praise for Wilson in an awards ceremony on Sunday.

"Anyone who thinks you can't go fast down this hill, take a good look at what Ryan Wilson did here this weekend," McVicker said. "He showed all those younger skiers just how fast you can go."

Duluth East senior Iain Duffus was Sunday's top local men's finisher, taking 45th, just two spots ahead of Hermantown junior Max Tusa. Among the top local women's finishers, Duluth East junior Amy Sienko came in 20th, one spot ahead of Duluth Marshall sophomore Elke Wood and four spots ahead of junior teammate Anna Kohlhaas.

Michael Ankeny, a Blake High School junior and the defending Minnesota high school champion, was one of eight boys who qualified for the J2 Nationals March 3-11 in Aspen, Colo. Among the notable national girls qualifiers were defending Minnesota state champion Nikki Larson of Lakeville South and Duluth Marshall's Wood. East's Sienko is the first alternate.

ALPINE SKIING

Atmore Memorial

At Spirit Mountain

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Sunday's Results

Men

Place Name Country 1st run 2nd run Total time

1. Ryan Wilson, USA 45.86 seconds 48.95--1:34.81

2. Michael Tichy, Canada 46.98 49.93--1:36.91

3. Patrick Conway, USA 47.40 49.66--1:37.06

4. Braden Long, Canada 47.77 49.65--1:37.42

5. Jake Braun, USA 47.82 50.47--1:38.29

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6. David Koop, USA 47.20 51.11--1:38.31

7. Martin Stocker, Austria 48.54 50.44--1:38.98

8. John Martz, USA 48.70 51.01--1:39.71

9. Bradley West, USA 48.44 51.29--1:39.73

10. Jake Huhn, USA 49.18 51.54--1:40.72

Atmore Cup Champion (given to the overall winner) -- Wilson.

Top J2 finishers -- 1. Huhn, 2. Dylan Rogers, USA, 3. Dylan Fisher McCarney, Canada.

J2 National Qualifiers

Michael Ankeny, Jake Huhn, Billy Wong, Mark Massey, Peter Albertson, Daniel Mence, Blake Radke, Dylan Rogers.

Women

Place Name Country 1st run 2nd run Total time

1. Julia Wong, USA 47.83 48.61--1:36.44

2. Kelly Connelly, USA 47.78 49.00--1:36.78

3. Lauren Samuels, USA 48.03 50.04--1:38.07

4. Kristina Koznick, USA 49.57 48.82--1:38.39

5. Carly McDowell, USA 48.38 50.50--1:38.88

6. Jamie Hornnes, USA 49.20 50.13--1:39.33

7. Maddie Strachota, USA 49.06 50.68--1:39.74

8. Nicole Larson, USA 49.60 50.61--1:40.21

9. Tenley Anne Fontaine USA, 49.46 51.58--1:41.04

10. Devon Erickson USA, 50.03 52.23--1:42.26

Atmore Cup Champion (given to the overall winner) -- Wong.

Top J2 finishers -- 1. Samuels, 2. McDowell, 3. Larson.

J2 National Qualifiers

Nicole Larson, Carly McDowell, Cayla Weber, Elke Wood, Brittany Barber, Lauren Samuels, Andrea Radke.

Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at jnowacki@duluthnews.com or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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