SOLDIER HOLLOW, Utah – Caitlin Gregg of Minneapolis scored a dominating victory Wednesday (Jan. 8), winning the 20k mass start freestyle race by nearly four minutes at the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships on the Olympic venue of Soldier Hollow. It was the fourth career national title for Gregg.
“You couldn’t ask for a better day,” said Gregg. “I can’t express anything better than being able to share this with my husband and my family and all of the great people who have supported us along the way. I got to watch my husband first – which makes me so nervous and stressed out. All the anxiety and nerves kind of leave me by the time of my race. It was a phenomenal end to our Nationals week.
Sylvan Ellefson of Vail, Colo., won his first national gold in the men’s 30k while Brian Gregg took silver with Olympian Kris Freeman third.
“It’s been 10 years in the making to win this one race. The only thing I’ve ever wanted to do is to win a national championship and I’m glad it happened finally. I can’t tell you what it means to have all the support out here from my family, friends and the people who have believed in me since I started this journey,” said Ellefson. “My race went exactly how I wanted it to go. My plan was to see how the race was going to unfold through the first 15k, and through 15k I still felt really good and like the race hadn’t quite began yet. Coming into that last lap I felt totally rejuvenated and ready to go. I knew the guys behind me knew that I was going for it and they’d be trying to close down. My skis were amazingly fast and on a day like today with variable conditions that’s what makes the day. I’m just glad I had a good body to complement it today.”
Chelsea Holmes was second for women, with Rosie Brennan picking up her second straight bronze. Caitlin and Brian Gregg will now fly to Europe to join the World Cup team in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic for sprint racing this weekend while national championship action concludes at Soldier Hollow Friday with classic sprints.
Release courtesy of USSA