U.S. Nordic Ski Team racer Morgan Arritola, 24, of Ketchum won a bronze medal in a classic event Wednesday on the second day of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Champion-ships at Rumford, Me.
Arritola, a Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Olympic Development Team racer, placed third behind Alaska Pa-cific University teammates Sadie Bjornsen of Anchorage, Ak. and Morgan Smyth of Park City in a field of 162 starters (157 finishers).
It was Arritola's third na-tional classic podium in her eight national competitions starting in 2004. She was sec-ond in the 2006 10k classic race at Soldier Hollow, Utah and third at 10k classic in 2008 at Houghton, Mich.
Bjornsen, 21, won the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) classic race staged in light snow with a time of 32:09, 31 seconds ahead of 24-year-old Smyth (32:40) and 49 seconds faster than Arritola (32:58). USST racer Liz Stephen was 10th in 33:40.
< Said Bjornsen, "We had great skis and I really liked the short loop. I went into it think-ing it was like running a mile. I went out hard and just held it for the rest of the way."
SVSEF Junior Nordic team head coach Rick Kapala said it was a great result for Arritola because the Black Mountain course didn't particularly suit her strengths. He said, "It was a flat course with few hills, and Morgan really likes hills."
Other SVSEF female overall finishers were Annie Pokorny 31st in 35:38, University of Colorado's Alexa Turzian 51st in 36:30, Sloan Storey 61st in 36:53 and Carrie Heagney 95th in 38:04. Nicole DeYong DNFd.
The APU reign continued with 32-year-old Lars Flora of Anchorage winning the na-tional men's 15k classic event Wednesday with a time of 43:29, 18 seconds ahead of APU teammate James Southam (43:47).
USST racer Noah Hoffman, formerly of the SVSEF ODT, finished seventh of 202 male finishers in 44:29. Current SVSEF ODT racer Matt Gelso, 22, from the Auburn Ski Club was eighth in 44:38.
Other SVSEF men in the 15k classic: 12—Colin Rodgers 45:07. 17—Mike Sinnott 45:38. 33—Reid Pletcher (Colorado) 46:21. 83—Max Christman 49:03. 104—William Spiller 49:57. 122—Scotty Phelan 50:33. 180—Torin Tucker 54:25.
Arritola thought she had a better chance at a national gold or silver in the 20k freestyle mass start race Thursday. It was run along with the men's 30k skate race, plus the 10k freestyle individual start events for Junior Boys and Junior Girls.