Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Arritola paces U.S. team in Finland

Top Yank in two Nordic races

Sun Valley Junior Nordic ski team racer Morgan Arritola continued to put her name on the map of the top American Nordic prospects at last week's FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Finland.

Arritola, 18, of Fairfield was the top American woman in both her individual races on freestyle and sprint pursuit courses at Rovaniemi in northern Finland. On Saturday, she ran the third leg on the 11th-place U.S. women's 4x5-kilometer relay team.

Last Monday, Arritola was 25th in women's pursuit (5k classic, 7th-fastest time in 5k freestyle) about two minutes off the winning pace.

The Community School graduate with the powerful motor was also the top American in Friday's 5k freestyle race. Arritola finished 36th of 71 skiers in 15:59, 94 seconds behind the top time of the Russian winner.

In the mixed technique relay, the U.S. women's team placing 11th of 13 teams, 4:17 back, consisted of Northern Michigan University's Morgan Smyth of Vermont, Burke Mountain Academy's Liz Stephen, Arritola and Taz Mannix of the Alaska Winter Stars. Arritola clocked the 10th fastest third leg.

Another Sun Valley skier, Mike Sinnott of Dartmouth College, competed at Rovaniemi and placed 28th in the classic technique sprints—the second American—and 84th in Friday's men's 10k freestyle event.

A record 34 nations sent nearly 400 athletes to Rovaniemi for six days of competitions in 13 events of cross-country, jumping and Nordic combined. The Norwegian women dominated, winning five of a possible eight medals.

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