RUMFORD, ME (Jan. 8) – Junior skier Jesssica Diggins, 19, (Afton, MN) and Olympian Torin Koos (Wenatchee, WA) battled an intensely motivated national championships field to take the top spots at the U.S. Cross Country Championships in the freestyle sprint Saturday.
The title for Diggins, skiing for Central Cross Country Skiing (CXC), capped an outstanding week at the weeklong championships at Black Mountain in Western Maine. Earlier this week Diggins was named as a member of the U.S. World Junior Championships Team which will compete in Otepea, Estonia from Jan.26-31. Dartmouth skier Sophie Caldwell took second while APU’s Sadie Bjornsen was third.
Olympic veteran Koos, now skiing out of the Methow Valley Olympic Development program, demonstrated strong form and fitness at the championships But there was plenty of heat down the home stretch before he claimed his second title of the week. Second place went to Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) skiing for the Sun Valley Ski Educational Foundation, while third went to Alaska Pacific University’s Lars Flora (Anchorage).
Koos said the race was fast and furious. “I just had to put myself in a position to make it happen at the end,” he said. “I am pretty satisfied because in previous years this may not have been the finish for me. But I have been working on some technique for the really fast double pole skating and it seemed to pay off today. I feel day in and day out I am now in the kind of shape that I can be a top ten world cup skier.”
In three days Koos heads back to Europe to train with the Swiss ski team in Davos, Switzerland.
The sprints closed a week of racing and battling Mother Nature, with volunteers doing yeoman’s work in shoveling snow and preparing the race tracks. U.S. Championships in long distance events, 50k for men and 30k for women, will be held in Sun Valley in early April.
January 8, 2011
U.S. Cross Country Championships
Men’s 1.6k Freestyle Sprints
1. Torin Koos, Wenatchee, WA (Methow Valley Olympic Development)
2. Simeon Hamilton, Aspen, CO (Sun Valley Ski Educational Foundation)
3. Lars Flora, Anchorage (Alaska Pacific University)
4. Chris Cook, Rhinelander, WI (Steinbock Racing)
5. Dakota Blackhorse-Von Jess, Bend, OR (Bend Nordic)
Women’s 1.4k Freestle Sprints
1. Jessica Diggins, Afton, MN (Central Cross Country)
2. Sophie Caldwell, Peru,VT (Dartmouth)
3. Sadie Bjornsen, Winthrop, WA (Alaska Pacific University)
4. Holly Brooks, Anchorage (Alaska Pacific University)
5. Lauren Fritz, Anchorage (Alaska Nordic)