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Three in Top 20, U.S. Women Prove Their Mettle With Gritty Results in Worlds 30 k

Rosie Brennan, focused on staying on the tails of Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland at the end of the 30 k classic.

Whether it was Sadie Bjornsen leading the race at 5 k, Liz Stephen scoring the best result ever for a U.S. women in a World Champs 30 k by finishing 11th, or Rosie Brennan outsprinting Justyna Kowalczyk for 16th, the American women ended Falun World Championships on a high note.

Canada 10th, U.S. 11th as North American Men Duel in World Champs Relay

Lenny Valjas of Canada leads Simi Hamilton of the United States on the last lap of the men's 4 x 10 k relay at World Championships in Falun, Sweden.

Canada and the U.S. men’s teams battled for a close 10th and 11th positions in Friday’s 4 x 10 k relay at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Championships in Falun, Sweden. While both teams acknowledged a desire for improvement, they were pleased with their respective efforts.

U.S. Women Tie Best-Ever Championships Relay Despite Early Mishap

Brennan-2nd-lap-thumb

A Russian racer skied over Sadie Bjornsen’s tips 2.5 kilometers into the 4 x 5 k relay, but the Americans fought back strong to finish fourth. “We all skied the best we possibly could today,” said Liz Stephen. “I’m already dreaming for the next chance at a podium.”

Statistics, Start Times, and Snowstorms: The Women’s 10 k in Falun

seeded start

Just how anomalous was the podium in the women’s 10 k freestyle at FIS World Championships on Tuesday? We find that FIS points still provide a great overall correlation to the results – and that while the five unseeded early starters had an advantage, the biggest losers in terms of snowstorm effects appeared to be the Germans, not the Norwegians.

Diggins, Gregg React to Historic Double Podium in Falun; U.S. Lands Four in Top 15

Americans Jessie Diggins (l) and Caitlin Gregg (r) hold up their silver and bronze medals from the 10 k freestyle at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden.

Americans Jessie Diggins and Caitlin Gregg discuss how they were able to take advantage of the opportunities in Tuesday’s 10 k freestyle individual start at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. The USST also boasted a day where all of its four starters landed in the top 15 with Liz Stephen in 10th and Kikkan Randall in 15th.

Kalla Untouchable in Snowy World Champs 10 k; Diggins and Gregg Surprise with U.S. Double Podium

Americans Jessie Diggins (l) and Caitlin Gregg (r) share the women's World Championships 10 k freestyle podium with Sweden's Charlotte Kalla (c), who won the race by 41 seconds for her first individual gold on Tuesday in Falun, Sweden. Diggins took second while Gregg took third, 46.9 seconds back. Both finishes were the best distance result in history for a U.S. woman at a World Championships. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus)

Charlotte Kalla made for a happy local crowd on Tuesday with a 41-second win in the 10 k freestyle at 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden. Two Americans joined her on the podium for a historic first in a women’s distance race at a World Championships: Jessie Diggins in second and Caitlin Gregg in third.

American Men Seventh, Women Eighth in World Champs Team Sprint

American Jessie Diggins, in the 2013 World Championships winners bib, chases Germany's Denise Herrmann in the women's 6 x 1.2 k freestyle sprint final on Sunday at 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden. Second in their semifinal, the U.S. placed eighth in the final and Germany was fourth behind Norway, Sweden and Poland, respectively. (Photo: FlyingPointRoad)

The U.S. Ski Team finished Sunday’s team sprint in the middle of the pack, as the defending world championship team of Sophie Caldwell and Jessie Diggins skied to eighth and the American men’s team of Andy Newell and Simi Hamilton notched seventh.

Bjornsen Busts Out Season-Best Distance Result in 28th at World Champs, Top U.S. Man in Skiathlon

Erik Bjornsen, USST, races up Mördarbacken during the the men's 30 k skiathlon at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden. He finished 28th. (Photo: flyingpointroad)

Erik Bjornsen of the U.S. Ski Team and Alaska Pacific University notched his best-distance result of the season on Saturday in his first race of 2015 World Championships. He led the U.S. men in 28th in the skiathlon, while Noah Hoffman placed 44th, Kris Freeman was 48th and Matt Gelso finished 54th.

U.S. Taps Caldwell, Diggins for Team Sprint; Randall ‘Playing it day by day’

Kikkan Randall (U.S. Ski Team) during Thursday's 1.4 k classic sprint qualifier, in which she placed 36th to miss advancing to the heats on the opening day of 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden. She finished 35th overall after Sweden's Hanna Falk was disqualified. (Photo: FlyingPointRoad)

The start lists are out and it’s official: Sophie Caldwell and Jessie Diggins will be representing the U.S. women in Sunday’s freestyle team sprint at World Championships. While it was a tough decision to leave Kikkan Randall off the team, U.S. head coach Chris Grover explains the reasoning behind it.

Caldwell, Hamilton Reach Semis for 10th, 12th in Falun Classic Sprint

Sophie Caldwell (21) follows Norway's Celine Brun-Lie (10) in their 1.4 k classic-sprint quarterfinal on Thursday at 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden. Caldwell went on to place third in the heat and advanced as a lucky loser. It was the first time she had raced heats in a classic sprint all season and she finished the day 10th overall. (Photo: FlyingPointRoad)

Out of six U.S. Ski Team members who advanced to the heats in Thursday’s World Championships classic sprint, Sophie Caldwell and Simi Hamilton went the farthest, making it to the semifinals before finishing 10th and 12th, respectively. Andy Newell placed 17th and rookie Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess led his quarterfinal at one point before ending up 30th overall. Sadie Bjornsen was 19th and Ida Sargent placed 29th.

Caldwell Leads Four North American Women Into Heats in World Champs Sprint Opener

Sophie Caldwell (U.S. Ski Team) racing to 21st in the women's 1.4 k classic sprint qualifier on the first day of medal competition at the 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden. (Photo: Flying Point Road)

Four North American women advanced to the heats on the first day of medal competition at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, with American Sophie Caldwell leading the crew in 21st in Thursday’s classic-sprint qualifier. Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk won the qualifier by 0.24 seconds, and Kikkan Randall missed advancing by 3.22 seconds in 36th.

World Champs Rookies: 10 Questions with Ben Saxton

Ben Saxton (SMST2) skiing to second place in the freestyle sprint at the 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships. (Photo: http://bertboyer.zenfolio.com) All proceeds from photo sales will be directly donated to NNF.

Ben Saxton of Stratton Mountain School T2 wasn’t initially part of the U.S. World Champs squad but was added after a sixth place finish at the U23 Champs. He answered 10 questions before his first World Championships as part of our series on World Champs rookies.

World Champs Rookies: 10 Questions with Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess

Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess  racing to 60th in the classic sprint qualifier in Östersund, Sweden last weekend (Photo: Fischer/Nordic Focus).

Bend Endurance Academy’s Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess answered 10 questions on the eve of the 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden, as part of our series on World Champs rookies.

World Champs Rookies: 10 Questions with Kyle Bratrud

Kyle Bratrud racing to 19th in his first race of U23 World Championships, the 15 k freestyle in Almaty, Kazakhstan. (Photo: Bryan Fish/USSA)

Northern Michigan University’s Kyle Bratrud answers 10 questions before he premieres in his first World Cup and World Championships as part of FasterSkier’s series on World Champs rookies.

U.S. Cross Country Team Named for 2015 World Championships

U.S. teammates Jessie Diggins (l) and Kikkan Randall celebrate a gold medal in the freestyle team sprint at 2013 World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

On Monday, the U.S. Ski Team (USST) announced its much-anticipated cross country selections for the 2015 FIS Nordic World Championships.

USA II’s Sargent, Brennan in the Money in Sixth in Otepää Team Sprint

Ida Sargent racing earlier this month in the opening prologue of the 2015 Tour de Ski in Obertsdorf, Germany. (Photo: Marcel Hilger)

In her second-ever team sprint (and first one since 2009), Rosie Brennan teamed up with Ida Sargent to advance to the final, where they placed sixth of 10 teams. The U.S. women’s first team, Sadie Bjornsen and Sophie Caldwell placed 11th, as did the U.S. men’s second team (Erik Bjornsen/Matt Gelso), and Andy Newell and Simi Hamilton ended up 19th after a late semifinal crash.

Americans Go 15th, 16th, 17th with Bittersweet Feelings After Otepää Sprint

Simi Hamilton (l) and Switzerland's Gianluca Cologna going head-to-head in the quarterfinal of the men's 1.5 k classic sprint on Saturday in Otepää, Estonia. Hamilton placed third in the heat, ahead of teammate Andy Newell in fourth (not shown) and Cologna in fifth. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus)

Three Americans made the quarterfinals on Saturday in the second World Cup classic sprint of the season: Sadie Bjornsen, Simi Hamilton and Andy Newell. None of them advanced to the semifinals, and while it wasn’t a bad day, most were left wanting more.

For Randall, First Mid-Season Trip Home in Five Years Feels Surreal

Kikkan Randall skating to 22nd in the Tour de Ski prologue in Oberstdorf, Germany. (Photo: Marcel Hilger)

Kikkan Randall’s been home for just over a week, and in a phone interview on Tuesday, she said she was ready for the break. “It wasn’t an easy decision to leave the racing circuit … but with Falun being my big goals, I wanted to really try to make a drastic change,” she says.

Stephen: ‘I Don’t Think I’ve Ever Imagined a Classic Race Shaping Up into Fifth’

Liz Stephen was 26th in Sunday's 10-kilometer freestyle individual start in Östersund, Sweden. Here she is pictured racing in the 2015 Tour de Ski prologue in Oberstdorf, Germany.  (Photo: Marcel Hilger)

Liz Stephen found herself in fifth place in Saturday’s 10 k classic mass start at the Tour de Ski, and she thought, why not? Why don’t I belong here? She hung on to record her best-ever finish in the classic technique, and hopes to move from sixth up to fourth in the Tour’s final stage on Sunday.

Bjornsen & Stephen in the Thick of Things in Tour Pursuit, Finish 14th & 15th; Sargent Improves to 40th

Sadie Bjornsen had half of a "dream race". Photo: Graham Longford.

After leading a chase group in fourth place for the first portion of the race, Sadie Bjornsen finished 14th in today’s World Cup 10 k pursuit – closely followed by American teammate Liz Stephen. The U.S. faced some disappointments, with Jessie Diggins dropping 40+ places, but saw one athlete, Ida Sargent, climb through the ranks.