Flora is national X-C sprint
Kemppel, Swenson take freestyle
One day before his 24th
birthday, former Sun Valley Junior Nordic ski team racer Lars Flora
captured the U.S. freestyle sprint championship Saturday at Bozeman, Mt.
Flora, solidifying his
claim on a 2002 Olympic berth, nipped 31-year-old Carl Swenson in a
sprawling finish on the first day of the Chevy Truck U.S. Cross Country
Championships at Bohart Ranch.
The women’s winner was
Kikkan Randall of Anchorage over Subaru Factory racer Tessa Benoit of
Vermont, who has been training in Ketchum.
It was the first
national title for Anchorage-bred Flora, who joined the Sun Valley team in
the 1994-95 season after a stop at Bend (Ore.). Hailey’s Pat Casey of
the Subaru Factory team captured the men’s B sprint final and placed
Monday’s women’s 15k
and men’s 30k freestyle races at Bohart Ranch belonged to Dartmouth
College’s Nina Kemppel, 31, and Swenson.
Nordic Team racer Kemppel, on line for her record fourth Olympic trip,
collected her 16th national title while Swenson picked up his fifth
Swenson’s 30k time was
1.20:28, 36 seconds faster than Justin Wadsworth, 33, of Bend, but
up-and-coming Flora was right there in third place just 46 seconds behind
Former Sun Valley skier
Bryce Turzian was 35th of 115 men, Jedd Young 47th and Jess Kiesel 52nd.
In the women’s 15k,
Rossignol racer Brooke Baughman of Ketchum was 11th of 86 racers. Other
local placings: Hilary Patzer 36th, Ashley McQueen 39th, Eva Bach 63rd and
Ashley Wells 82nd.
Coming up: Classical
racing today, Wednesday; freestyle pursuit Thursday; and long-distance