The 2014 NCAAs are over and Denver has claimed its 22nd title. In a warm and sunny day at Soldier Hollow, the Europeans ruled again in the exciting mass start races with only one American making the podium. Read more to find out how the action unfolded.
Daniel Richardsson of Sweden carefully waited until the last 800 meters to make his attack, winning the Holmenkollen 50 k. Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway led for much of the race, keeping the pace sky high. “I’ve never seen anything like that, where the best skier in the world decides to go not even 10 k into the race,” said Noah Hoffman.
It would be easy to relax now that the Olympics are over – but the U.S. men’s biathlon team is doing anything but. Lowell Bailey placed 10th and Tim Burke 13th in today’s pursuit, while Leif Nordgren scored his first World Cup points of the season. “They still give the same amount of World Cup points for a win, and the prize money is still the same,” Burke laughed.
When Zina Kocher passed teammate Rosanna Crawford late in the game in today’s World Cup pursuit, it spurred both Canadians to rev up their engines and go for season-best results. Meanwhile, Susan Dunklee of the U.S. put Thursday’s rifle disaster behind her and rode the fourth-fastest ski time of the day to 20th place, and Sara Studebaker scored World Cup points again.
How much skate skiing should be allowed in a classic sprint race? Quite a bit, if Wednesday’s race in Drammen, Norway was any indication. “I think classic skiing took a step backwards,” said USST Coach Matt Whitcomb. “I don’t think the line between what’s legitimate for classic technique was respected yesterday, and I think it opens a can of worms that makes the line very fuzzy now.”
Sara Studebaker and Susan Dunklee qualified for Saturday’s World Cup pursuit in Pokljuka, Slovenia – Studebaker because of her good shooting, and Dunklee despite losing a part of her rifle sight on trail. “I had very little chance of lining it up correctly to hit anything,” Dunklee lamented after an incident that drew attention from international commentators.
Christian Gow placed sixth in the men’s individual and Sarah Beaudry and Julia Ransom sixth and seventh in the women’s race at World Youth and Junior Championships on Wednesday. “We have 4 provinces represented in the top 6 results [this week] with British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec… it’s an exciting future,” coach Roddy Ward said.
It was shaping up to be another battle between the newest star of the Gross family, biathlon royalty from Germany, and upstart Sean Doherty from the United States. But a Russian swept in to take gold in the youth men’s individual race. Nevertheless, two Canadians also made the flower ceremony and two American women were top ten in their own individual competition.
Closing in on the finish it was Falla and Bjørgen neck and neck, with Nilsson gaining ground. At the line it was Falla’s foot that crossed before Bjørgen’s. Falla said after the race, “Marit [Bjørgen] and I train a lot together and Marit usually wins when we practice the finish. It is nice to beat her.”
One-hundred and forty-eight. That’s the number of skiers who have descended upon the ski town of Park City, Utah to participate in the 2014 NCAA Championships. The four day event, which consists of two alpine and two nordic races, begins Wednesday and continues through Saturday. Check out our preview, so you know who to watch and what to look for as the event gets underway tomorrow.