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SuperTour Resumes in Craftsbury; Caitlin Gregg, Scott Patterson Top Podium

Patrick Caldwell leads a group of skier's in Friday's 10-kilometer freestyle race in Craftsbury, Vermont, as part of the USSA SuperTour. Photo courtesy John Lazenby.

Domestic racing continued with the SuperTour this past weekend in Craftsbury, Vt, where Caitlin Gregg podiumed in all three races, twice at the top, and second in the classic race to Rosie Brennan. On the men’s side, Scott Patterson captured two wins in a row, and Sam Naney took a victory in Sunday’s sprint.

Graham Nishikawa, Marshall Win Two of Three Races at Canadian Eastern Championships

Alysson Marshall at the 2014 Canadian Eastern Championships in Cantley, Quebec. (Photo http://shootstories.smugmug.com/Canadian-Eastern-Championships/i-TdxGVQW

The NorAm circuit resumed last weekend with the three-day Eastern Canadian Championships in Cantley, Quebec, where Graham Nishikawa and Alysson Marshall of the Canadian Senior Development Team both picked up two wins. Before the Western Championships Feb. 13-16, some are considering racing over in Europe.

Caitlin Gregg on Her Big Push for Olympics #2, How She and Brian Managed It, and What’s Next

Team Gregg celebrates Caitlin's national title in the 20 k freestyle mass start at 2014 U.S. nationals in Midway, Utah. Earlier in the day, Brian placed second to Sylvan Ellefson (SSCV/Team HomeGrown) in the men's 30 k freestyle mass start. (Photo: Caitlin Gregg/In the Arena)

Regardless of what happens with the official U.S. Olympic Nordic Ski Team naming on Wednesday, Caitlin Gregg says she’s happy. The last four years have been about balance, Gregg explains, and a journey with her husband that she wouldn’t trade for anything. “One of the greatest things though is that anticipation of not knowing that you made it,” she says.

Weekend Roundup: Sprintacular

Sergey Ustiugov (RUS) celebrates his sprint victory. Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus

It was a spectacular weekend for sprinting as the World Cup continued in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic with both a individual and team sprint. FasterSkier was also on site at the 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships in Midway, Ut., which concluded with a classic sprint on Friday.

Widmer, Cockney, Killick, and Ammar Show Strength at Canadian Olympic Trials

The start of the men's skiathlon at the Canmore Nordic Centre on Sunday. (Photo: Pavlina Sudrich).

Four racers proved they deserve a spot on Canada’s Olympic team this weekend in the freestyle sprints and 15/30 k skiathlons. Heidi Widmer (AWCA/NST) and Jesse Cockney (AWCANST) took home top honors in the freestyle sprint, while Graeme Killick (AWCA/NST) and Amanda Ammar (Team Ninja) won the skiathlon.

Naryshkina Adjusts in Time to Win U.S. Nationals Classic Sprint; Brennan Top American

Rosie Brennan (APU) in second stands up just before the finish as Russia's Natalja Naryshkina (CXC) wins the women's classic sprint A-final by 0.3 seconds. (Photo: Tom Kelly/U.S. Ski Team)

In her third race of the season with CXC after studying, training and racing in Russia, Natalja Naryshkina won the women’s classic sprint at U.S. nationals on Friday with a flawless run through the qualifier and heats. Rosie Brennan (APU) was second for her second national title in two years.

U.S. Nationals: Women’s Classic Sprint Qualifier Photos

Natalja Naryshkina (CXC), 1st

Natalja Naryshkina (CXC) put down the fastest women’s qualifying time by 0.02 seconds in the 1.5 k classic sprint at U.S. nationals on Friday, winning the qualifier in 3:58.20 to advance to the heats, which start with the men at 12:15 p.m. MST.

Crawford, Thompson, McKeever, and Nishikawa Score Big at Canadian Olympic Trials

The final stretch of the men's freestyle sprint. (Photo: Kathy Wylie).

Canada’s Olympic Trials kicked off on Wednesday at the Canmore Nordic Centre with the first of two freestyle sprint races. With perhaps only two spots per gender on the Olympic team up for grabs, there is little room for errors for racers wanting to qualify for the Olympics.

U.S. Nationals Photo Gallery: Men’s 30 k Freestyle Mass Start

Sylvan Ellefson (SSCV/Team HomeGrown) breaks away on the fifth of six laps in the U.S. nationals 30 k freestyle mass start at Soldier Hollow.

Sylvan Ellefson, 26, knew it was going to take some gutsy skiing to win the men’s 30-kilometer freestyle mass start Wednesday at the 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships, but he didn’t want to go too crazy, too soon. Here’s how he executed to win his first national title by 2.8 seconds.

U.S. Nationals Photo Gallery: Women’s 20 k Freestyle Mass Start

Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg/ Madshus) leading by more than 10 seconds early in the second of four laps in the 20 k freestyle mass start at U.S. nationals.

Caitlin Gregg didn’t waste any time getting out front and out of range on Wednesday, opening up an 11.5-second lead by the first of four laps in the women’s 20-kilometer freestyle mass start. As the race went on, she only got faster, ultimately winning by an unheard of 3:36 minutes at U.S. nationals.

With a Fleet of Fans Behind Him, Ellefson Goes Big for First National Title in 30 k (Updated)

Sylvan Ellefson (SSCV/Team HomeGrown) pushes off the front with just over 5 k remaining in the men's 30 k freestyle mass start at U.S. nationals at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah.

A crowd favorite, Sylvan Ellefson (SSCV/Team HomeGrown) put down a bold move and broke away with 7.5 k to go in the men’s 30 k freestyle mass start at U.S. nationals. “Whether they pick me for the Olympics this year or not, I’m just happy to have a national championship under my belt,” he says.

Bender Rallies to Second National Title, Wins Skate Sprint at SoHo

The women's 1.5 k freestyle sprint podium, with winning Jennie Bender (c) of the Bridger Ski Foundation, Caitlin Gregg (l) of Team Gregg/Madshus in second, and Rosie Brennan (APU) in third. (Photo: Tom Kelly/USSA)

Jennie Bender rose from fifth to first in the final stretches of Sunday’s 1.5 k freestyle sprint to complete the Bridger Ski Foundation’s podium domination at U.S. Cross Country Championships at Soldier Hollow.

U.S. Nationals: Women’s Skate Sprint Qualifier Photos

Kate Fitzgerald (APU) 4th

Photos of some of the top finishers in the U.S. Cross Country Championships women’s 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint on Sunday. Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg/Madshus) won it by more than 4 seconds in 3:09.97 to advance to the quarterfinals, which start with the men at 1 p.m. MST.

U.S. Nationals: Men’s Skate Sprint Qualifier Photos

Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess (BEA), 1st

Photos of some of the top finishers in the U.S. Cross Country Championships men’s freestyle sprint on Sunday. Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess of the Bend Endurance Academy won it by nearly two seconds in 2:41.37 to advance to the heats, which start at 1 p.m. MST.

Rorabaugh Rocks Women’s 10 k Classic for First National Title

Becca Rorabaugh (APU) racing to a national title in the 10 k classic individual start on Sunday at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah. (Photo: Bert Boyer/http://bertboyer.zenfolio.com/) All proceeds from photo sales will be directly donated to NNF.

Fairbanks native Becca Rorabaugh (APU) pulled off the best result of her career in Saturday’s 10 k classic individual start, winning the first race of U.S. nationals on an unforgiving 2002 Olympic course by 14 seconds over Caitlin Gregg.

Demanding Course Can’t Keep Bjornsen from 15 k Win at 2014 U.S. Nationals

(Photo: Bert Boyer/http://bertboyer.zenfolio.com/) All proceeds from photo sales will be directly donated to NNF.

In what was a flawless day at Soldier Hollow, Erik Bjornsen of Alaska Pacific University and the U.S. Ski Team achieved his second national championship in the 15 k interval start in the first day of racing at the 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships. He finished 0:14 ahead of Reese Hanneman (APU) who placed second. Kris Freeman of the Maine Winter Sports Club finished third, 0:22.8 back from Bjornsen.

The Adventures of Gregg and Liebsch: Part II

Matt Liebsch enjoying the view from their chartered flight from Oroville, Wash., to Bozeman, Mont., on Dec. 7.

We know, you’ve been on the edge of your seat since the release of “The Adventures of Gregg and Liebsch: Part I,” and you can’t wait to find out what happened to the two Midwest pals in their quest to qualify for the Olympics. Picking up where we left off: the plane ride from Washington state to Bozeman, Mont.

Black Jack NorAm Photo Gallery

NorAm action in Rossland, B.C., last winter: with Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess  of the Bend Endurance Academy (101) rounding a corner with Sun Valley's Miles Havlik (110) and Graeme Killick (121) of the Alberta World Cup Academy/CNST in the Black Jack NorAm 1.6 k skate sprint semifinals on Dec. 15. Blackhorse-von Jess won the semifinal and went on to place fifth in the A-final. Fourth in the semi, Havlick ended up second overall, and Killick placed 12th.  (Photo: Shelley Peachell/Peachell Photography, http://peachellphotography.com/)

Some of the best photos from last weekend’s NorAm at the Black Jack Ski Club in Rossland, B.C, with freestyle sprints on Dec. 14 followed by 10- and 15-kilometre classic individual starts on Dec. 15.

Wednesday Workout: Bozeman Creek Climb

BSF skier Sam Miller racing at Soldier Hollow in 2012. (Photo: Bridger Ski Foundation)

During the holidays, opportunities for races can be few and far between, and it’s often easy to get into the lull of long distance skis with old friends. While these can be fun and beneficial, it’s important to get some high intensity and completive training in before the season starts to intensify in January. BSF has the right idea with a hill-climb time trial on Dec. 28.

Sandau, Fitzgerald Win Black Jack NorAm Classic Races

Kevin Sandau (AWCA/NST) racing to victory in the NorAm 15 k classic individual start on Dec. 15 in Rossland, B.C.

In the last big North American race before the holiday break, Kevin Sandau (AWCA/NST) and American Kate Fitzgerald (APU) took home top honors on Sunday in the Black Jack NorAm 10/15 k classic individual starts in Rossland, B.C.