Friday, April 1, 2011

Freeman, Randall the leaders as SuperTour hits its climax

Race Week ends Saturday with Dollar climb

Men’s 15k classic winner Kris Freeman of New Hampshire celebrates after Wednesday’s victory on the Lake Creek trail system. Courtesy photo by David Wheelock

The 2011 SuperTour Finals on the Lake Creek trail system have turned into a great week of cross-country skiing for 220 of the top U.S. Nordic Ski Team racers, American collegiate prospects and some of the top Canadian and European racers.

And it's been a spectacular showcase for two of the top American Nordic racers, Kikkan Randall and Kris Freeman. They will take the overall U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Super-Tour Finals lead into the final two events.

Individual classic sprint races today, Friday, April 1 at Lake Creek (qualifications 9 a.m. and final rounds 11 a.m.) comprise the third of four stages of SuperTour Finals week. Randall and Freeman will look to pad their leads and add more bonus seconds today.

Those bonus seconds will provide Randall and Freeman with advantages in the starting posi-tions of Saturday's Pursuit Start Freestyle Hill Climb on a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course.

It should be a challenging climb on Dollar Mountain—with the first man and woman crossing the finish line atop the summit earning the overall titles.

"We'll start near Quarter Dollar and go up and over towards Elkhorn, then back towards Dollar summit. The elevation gain should be 650 to 700 feet," said Chief of Competition Rick Kapala, SVSEF Nordic ski coach and program director.

Start time Saturday is 9 a.m.

Three-time U.S. Olympians Randall, 28, from Anchorage, and Freeman, 30, from New Hamp-shire, seized control of the SuperTour Finals Wednesday with victories in the women's 10-kilometer mass start classic and men's 15k classic races on the Lake Creek trails.

Randall's 10k classic win and her victory in Tuesday's 2.8k Women's Skate Prologue gave her 30 bonus seconds. Freeman, a close second to U.S. Ski Team teammate Simi Hamilton, 23, in Tuesday's 3.3k Men's Skate Prologue, piled up 15 bonus seconds for winning the long-distance classic race.

As the national team's star distance racer, Freeman gave an impressive show on a difficult and hilly course Wednesday. Freeman (40:59) skied to a strong 13.8-second victory over Drew Goldsack (41:13) and Kevin Sandau, both of the Canadian National Ski Team.

Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Olympic Development Team racer Matt Gelso, 22, placed eighth of 128 male finishers in 41:48. Meanwhile, Freeman's top challenger for the Mini-Tour title, sprint specialist Simi Hamilton, ended up 13th with a time of 42:09.

Alaska Pacific University's Randall navigated the hilly and windy course and skied unchal-lenged for much of Wednesday's 10k classic race. Randall (30:41) won by 4.2 seconds over this year's breakout U.S. star Jessie Diggins, 19, of Minnesota (30:46). Ketchum's Morgan Arritola, 24, was fifth of 80 female finishers with a 31:33 time.

SVSEF Older Junior racer Annie Pokorny, 18, placed second in her class and 15th overall in 32:54. University of Denver racer Makayla Cappel, 19, of Hailey was seventh among OJs, SVSEF's Sloan Storey, 16, sixth in the J1 class and Maggie Williams, 15, won the J2 class.

Here are top finishers and Sun Valley contestants in Tuesday's prologue and Wednesday's clas-sic races:

Men's 15k classic: 1—Kris Freeman (USST) 40:59. 7—Noah Hoffman (USST) 41:33. 8—Matt Gelso (SVSEF ODT) 41:48. 13—Simi Hamilton (SVSEF ODT) 42:09. 14—Mike Sinnott (SVSEF ODT) 42:11. 34—Colin Rodgers (SVSEF ODT) 43:57. 77—William Spiller (SVSEF) 46:47 (11-OJ). 78—Max Christman (SVSEF) 46:48 (12-OJ). 94—Brandon Wade (SVSEF) 49:12 (16-J1). 112—Andrew Pfeiffer (SVSEF) 51:12 (26-J1). 122—Zachary Lindahl (SVSEF) 54:14 (29-J1). 124—Steve Pfeiffer (SVSEF) 55:35 (4-J2).

Women's 10k: 1—Kikkan Randall (USST) 30:41. 5—Morgan Arritola (USST) 31:33. 15—Annie Pokorny (SVSEF) 32:54 (2-OJ). 20—Nicole DeYong (SVSEF ODT) 33:27. 21—Alexa Turzian (Univ. of Colo.) 33:35 (8-U-23). 24—Katie Bono (SVSEF ODT) 34:12. 42—Makayla Cappel (Denver) 35:04 (7-OJ). 48—Sloan Storey (SVSEF) 36:12 (6-J1). 49—Maggie Williams (SVSEF) 36:13 (1-J2). 65—Maranda Stopol (SVSEF) 37:44 (15-J1). 80—Kaitlyn Landis (SVSEF) 45:23 (19-J1).

Men's 3.3k Prologue: 1—Hamilton 7:46. 6—Hoffman 8:03. 12—Gelso 8:08. 21—Sinnott 8:16. 29—Rodgers 8:23. 68—Daniel Sundali (SVSEF) 8:47 (9-OJ). 71—Christman 8:50. 105—Spiller 9:20. 128—Steve Pfeiffer 10:09. 130—Ketchum Wilt 10:38. 132—Jake Adicoff 10:57.

Women's 2.8k Prologue: 1—Randall 7:19. 7—Arritola 8:01. 13—DeYong 8:08. 22—Turzian 8:19. 26—Pokorny 8:22 (2-OJ). 35—Bono 8:29. 44—Cappel 8:42. 67—Kelsey Dickinson (SVSEF) 9:17. 69—Carrie Heagney (SVSEF) 9:20. 72—Stopol 9:21. 77—Williams 9:36 (3-J2). 80—Morgan Atkinson (SVSEF) 9:50.

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