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Liebsch, Owen take City of Lakes Loppet Victories

Racers toeing the line of the 2010 edition of the City of Lakes Loppet were greeted Sunday morning with blue skies and pleasant winter temperatures.  The snow set up firm overnight, leaving the 35k course in Minneapolis firm and fast.

In the 35k freestyle Loppet, local hero Matt Liebsch (CXC Team Vertical Limit), fresh off his first points-scoring effort in the Canmore World Cup 15k skate, took the victory.  Second went to Rossignol’s Josh Smullin, current racing and coaching for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.  CXC Team Vertical Limit’s Andre Watt edged Dave Chamberlain (MWSC/Fischer) and Duluth-native Adam Swank (Fischer) in a three-way sprint for the final podium spot.

CXC Team Vertical Limit also took the victory in the women’s race, with former Michigan Tech standout Kristina Owen outpacing teammate Maria Stuber (CXC Team Vertical Limit) by a comfortable 46 seconds.  Completing the CXC sweep of the women’s podium was Johanna Winters.  Biathlete (and current medical school student) Carolyn Bramante and Atomic’s Lindsey Dehlin rounded out the top five.

Local ski shop Hoigaard’s sponsored the 25k classic Loppet.  Former University of Alaska Seawolf Andy Liebner skied to a convincing victory, leaving his nearest competitor nearly four minutes behind.  Evan Pengelly was second, beating Duluth’s Grant Nelson in a sprint finish.

CXC Team Vertical Limit picked up another victory in the women’s division of the Hoigaard’s Classic.  This time it was Dartmouth alum Audrey Weber coming in ahead of former US Ski Team member Hilary Patzer (Rossignol).  Angie Robinson was just edged by Patzer and had to settle for third place.

Full results and photos available here,

Video of the Liebsch, Smullin, and the sprint for third:

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