Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gelso leads SVSEF Nordic skiers at St. Paul

Classic 15k mass start winner

Express Staff Writer

     Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Gold Team cross-country skier Matt Gelso earned Saturday’s 15-kilometer mass start classic victory in the Battle Creek Park USSA SuperTour race at St. Paul, Minn.

     Gelso, 25, led 61 men to the finish of the three-lap race with a time of 43 minutes and 22.9 seconds. He out-sprinted second place Benjamin Saxton of Vermont’s Stratton Mountain School (43:24.6) and Ketchum’s Mike Sinnott, 28, of the SVSEF Gold Team (43:24.9).

     Miles Havlick, 24, of the SVSEF Gold Team placed sixth (43:54.9) and Boulder Mountain Ski Tour champion Sylvan Ellefson, 27, of Vail, Colo. settled for 14th place (45:24). Top-six prize money for men and women in each race was $750, $500, $250, $200, $150 and $100.

     Alaska Pacific’s Rosie Brennan topped the women’s 10k mass start classic for 38 finishers Saturday at 33:23, one second ahead of SVSEF Gold Teamer and reigning Boulder Mountain Ski Tour women’s champ Chelsea Holmes, 26, clocked in 33:24.6. Rose Kemp, 23, of the SVSEF ended up in seventh place (33:55).

     Sunday’s men’s 10k freestyle interval start race ended up with reigning national 20k mass start freestyle winner Ellefson (26:19.8) crossing the line first of 54 men. Placing 2-3 were teammates Gelso (26:29) and Sinnott (26:55), with Havlick in seventh (27:28) of 54 finishers.

     The women’s 5k freestyle interval start event Sunday at St. Paul saw 33-year-old Caitlin Gregg of Minneapolis recapture some of the magic that the 2010 Olympic had during the U.S. Senior National Championships Jan. 9 at Soldier Hollow, Utah.

     Gregg won her fourth national title in that January race over second-place Holmes and third-place Brennan. At St. Paul Sunday, the 1-2-3 finish out of 68 racers featured Gregg (15:00), runner-up Brennan (15:11) and third-place Holmes (15:11.4), with Rose Kemp in seventh (15:47).

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