Wierather Wins Women’s GS; Ex-Lyme Resident Shiffrin 8th
Val D’Isere, France — Liechtenstein’s Tina Wierather protected her lead from the first run to win a women’s World Cup giant slalom on Sunday and clinch her second victory of the season.
After winning a super-G race at St. Moritz last weekend, the 24-year-old Wierather secured her third career win and 13th podium finish with an overall time of 2 minutes, 24.10 seconds — .75 seconds clear of Swiss skier Lara Gut, who was third after the first run, and .95 ahead of Sweden’s Maria Pietilae-Holmner, who had been second.
Italian Federica Brignone was fourth, ahead of former World Cup winner Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany.
Former Lyme, N.H., resident Mikaela Shiffrin was the top American finisher, taking eighth place in 2:25.57. Teammate Julia Mancuso did not finish the second run.
Hirscher Wins GS; Ligety Third
Alta Badia, Italy — Two-time defending overall World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher won the challenging giant slalom on the Gran Risa course with two solid runs Sunday, while favorite Ted Ligety finished third at the site of one of his most memorable victories.
Hirscher, an Austrian, clocked a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 37.45 seconds for his second consecutive GS win after a victory in Val d’Isere, France, last weekend.
Alexis Pinturault of France finished second, 0.35 seconds behind, and Ligety, the American who won by a massive margin last year, was 0.41 back.
Another American, Tim Jitloff, finished fifth to match his career best result.
White Happy With Third
Copper Mountain, Colo. — Shaun White finished third at the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday, putting himself in strong position to earn a spot on the U.S. team for the Olympic debut of slopestyle.
White, who hurt his left ankle last week and skipped the halfpipe in Copper Mountain to focus on slopestyle, scored a 90.75 on his first run, which put him in second place.
His attempt to go bigger on the second run got stymied when he fell after jumping onto the very first rail on the course.
Norway swept the top two spots, with Staale Sandbech (97 points) getting the win and Torstein Horgmo finishing second (94.75).
A&M LB Arrested
College Station, Texas — Texas A&M suspended standout freshman linebacker Darian Claiborne after he was arrested on two drug possession charges.
Claiborne was arrested Sunday on charges of possession of a dangerous drug and possession of less than two ounces of marijuana, according to the Brazos County Jail website. He was arrested at about 3 p.m. and released less than two hours later after posting $6,000 bond.
Claiborne, tied for the team lead with 89 tackles, will miss the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against Duke on Dec. 31.
Aussie Wild Cards Set
Norcross, Ga. — Two-time NCAA singles champion Steve Johnson and 18-year-old Sachia Vickery earned wild-card invitations to the Australian Open by winning U.S. Tennis Association playoffs.
Johnson, who is 23 and played college tennis at Southern California, beat Tennys Sandgren 4-6, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1 in the men’s final on an indoor hard court.
Johnson is ranked 156th. His best showing at a major tournament was reaching the third round at the 2012 U.S. Open as a wild-card entry.
The 195th-ranked Vickery defeated Victoria Duval 6-2, 6-3 in the USTA playoff women’s final. Vickery also earned a wild card into this year’s U.S. Open, her Grand Slam debut, and got to the second round.
The Australian Open starts Jan. 13.
A. Cabrera Busts HR Mark
Caracas, Venezuela — Former major leaguer Alex Cabrera has broken a three-decade-old Venezuelan record for most home runs in a season.
Cabrera hit his 21st home run on Sunday, a grand slam that soared into the left-field bleachers and surpassed the tally set in 1980 by former big league catcher Bo Diaz.
Cabrera, who turns 42 on Dec. 24, dedicated the feat to his wife. He said she arrived on Sunday in Venezuela from the United States.
“She gave me a kiss before the game and wished me luck,” he said. “I think that’s what calmed me down.”
Cabrera had been struggling lately to add to his homer total for Los Tiburones, or Sharks.
With little more than a week to go in regular-season play in the winter league, Cabrera is on pace to become the first player to win a Triple Crown for leading the league in batting average, home runs and runs batted in.
Cabrera played part of the 2000 season for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’s played in Japan ever since for the Seibu Lions.
The Venezuelan slugger was identified in the Mitchell Report in 2007 as one of several dozen major league players who were believed to have used banned substances.
The report chronicled the discovery of a bottle containing steroids in the Diamondbacks’ clubhouse in September 2000. A clubhouse employee found the bottle and several hundred pills in a package that had been mailed to Cabrera, according to the report.
Cabrera has denied he ever used the drugs.