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Mikaela Shiffrin defends slalom title at U.S. championships


WINTER PARK, Colo. (AP) -- Mikaela Shiffrin tore through the soft snow conditions as she turned in two smooth runs to defend her slalom title at the U.S. championships on Wednesday.

The 17-year-old Shiffrin finished in a combined time of 1 minute, 39.57 seconds, holding off Hailey Duke by more than a second. Kiley Staples wound up third.

"I love skiing in the U.S.; winning a race is great, but to be able to drive home and sleep in my own bed is really comforting," said Shiffrin, who's from nearby Vail. "There's certainly an advantage to that."

Shiffrin is coming off a sensational rookie season on the World Cup circuit, where she earned her first podium finish by taking third in the slalom last December in Lienz, Austria. She also had three other top-10 finishes in the slalom.

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Her week isn't done as Shiffrin will also compete Saturday in the giant slalom, along with Julia Mancuso and reigning World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn.

"This is a great way to end a great World Cup season," Shiffrin said.

The men's slalom will be held Thursday at nationals.