Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Katharine Irwin raced her way to a first place in the J2 National giant slalom at Sugarloaf, Maine.

Irwin took advantage of her early start in the first run, fifth down the course, to build a lead of 1.4 seconds over Canada’s Candace Crawford.

After reversing the order of the top 30 in the first run, Irwin’s second run had her starting 30th.

“The snow was soft and bumpy on my second run,” said Irwin.  “My second run wasn’t great, but I had a good lead from my first run, and that lead held.”

“Katharine had a rough ride on her second run down,” said coach Dan Stipp.  “But she skied well and held on to win.”

SSCV’s Julia Cooper finished 19th for the day, while Celine Guilmineau skied to a seventh place in the first GS run, but went too straight in a tricky section of the course and skied out.

The J2 Nationals continue Wednesday, 2/9, with Super G racing for the men and women.