Friday, January 6, 2012

Sprints in the books at Nordic nationals

In Maine

Delayed one day because of warm weather, the 2012 U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships welcomed cooler temperatures and started up Tuesday, Jan. 3 with men's 1.6-kilometer and women's 1.4k freestyle sprint races at Black Mountain in Rumford, Maine.

There were 13 Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation racers or former SVSEF racers in the field of 203 men and 152 women. Leading the way was 26-year-old Mike Sinnott of Ketchum, who placed 10th in the men's heats. The top 30 racers in the qualifying sprints made the quarterfinal heats.

Sinnott actually finished second in the qualifying behind top qualifier Dakota Blackhorse von Jess, a Dartmouth graduate. Sinnott didn't do as well in the heats—placing second in his quarterfinal, fifth in his semi-final and fourth in the "B" final for an overall 10th.

Four other SVSEF racers made the top 30 and advanced to the heats, where Matt Gelso finished 15th, Reid Pletcher of the University of Colorado 23rd, Cole Morgan 25th and Colin Rodgers 26th. Morgan, 17, was top J1 in qualifying with a 27th overall finish out of 203.

In Junior Men's heats, former SVSEF racer Max Christman of Bend, Ore. placed 9th and Kevin Bolger 10th. Bolger won his quarterfinal heat. Also competing were Scott Phelan, Danny Sundali and Jack Steele.

The three SVSEF women didn't make the top 30, but Middlebury's Annie Pokorny and Sloan Storey advanced to the Junior Women's heats where Pokorny finished 13th and Storey 17th. In qualifying, Pokorny was 6th OJ and Storey 7th J1. SVSEF racer Chelsea Holmes was 44th in qualifying.

Repeat men's winner of the national skate sprint was Torin Koos, 31, of Wenatchee, Wash. and the Bridger Ski Foundation. It was his sixth national title. Women's skate sprint queen at nationals for the second straight year was Jessie Diggins, 20, of Afton, Minn.

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