Western Canadian Championships (Red Deer, Alberta): 10/15 k classic mass starts
On Day 2 of the NorAm Western Canadian Championships in Red Deer, Andy Shields of Lappe Nordic won the men’s 15-kilometer classic mass start and Annika Hicks of the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) topped the women’s 10 k classic mass start.
Shields won the open men’s race by 9.4 seconds in 40:14.4, while Russell Kennedy (Team R.A.D.) placed second for the second-straight day. Scott Hill, of Barrie Cross Country (BXC), reached the podium in third, 14 seconds out of first.
Friday’s freestyle sprint winner, Jess Cockney (Canadian World Cup Team) placed fourth (+48.5), Michael Somppi (AWCA) followed in fifth (+49.4), and Jack Carlyle (AWCA) was sixth (+52.4). Just 0.1 seconds after Carlyle, Remi Drolet (Black Jack) was the top junior in seventh overall (+52.5), Sam Hendry (Team R.A.D.) was the second junior in eighth (+52.9), Patrick Stewart-Jones (AWCA) finished ninth (+55.0), and Antoine Hebert (AWCA) 10th (+55.2).
The open women’s race was closer in the race for first place, with Hicks capturing her first NorAm win in 28:51.0, 2.5 seconds ahead of Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt (Rocky Mountain Racers) in second. All three women that reached the podium in Friday’s sprint returned to it on Saturday, with Zina Kocher (Foothills Nordic) placing third (+23.8). (On Friday, Bouffard-Nesbitt won ahead of Kocher in second and Hicks in third.)
Laurence Dumais (AWCA) finished fourth on Saturday (+58.4), Kaia Andal (Caledonia Nordic) was the top junior in fifth overall (+1:07.6), Molly Miller (Black Jack) finished sixth (+1:08), Alana Brittin (Revelstoke Nordic) seventh (+1:24.4), Amanda Thompson (Whitehorse Ski Club) eighth (+1:26.6), Paiga Latta (Sovereign Lake Nordic) ninth (+1:48.6), and Beth Granstrom (Revelstoke Nordic) 10th (+1:50.3).
Western Canadian Championships conclude Sunday with freestyle relays (women’s 3 x 3.75 k and men’s 3 x 5 k).
FIS Cross-Country World Cup (Planica, Slovenia): Classic Sprints
Stina Nilsson and Johannes Høsflot Klæbo won the classic sprints against the backdrop o the Julian Alps in Planica, Slovenia, retaining leadership of their respective Sprint Cup standings.
In the women’s race, Nilsson outgunned Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway in the final uphill, and then pulled away in the finishing straight. Kathrine Harsem of Norway, who had won the qualifier, also pulled past Falla, claiming second place and the first individual World Cup podium of her career. Harsem crossed the line 1.27 seconds behind Nilsson, and Falla another 0.54 seconds back. After skiing near the front at the beginning of the final the U.S. Ski Team’s Jessie Diggins placed fourth, +3.81. Sweden’s Anna Dyvik was fifth, +4.45, and Norway’s Heidi Weng sixth.
U.S. sprinter Sophie Caldwell finished the day in ninth after placing fifth in her semifinal heat. Teammates Ida Sargent and Sadie Bjornsen didn’t make it out of the quarterfinals; Bjornsen was caught up when Germany’s Sandra Ringwald crashed, and as a result finished a distant fifth in her heat for 21st overall. Sargent finished 23rd.
Julia Kern qualified in 43rd (+14.28), Rosie Brennan 49th (+15.87), and Caitlin Patterson 53rd (+17.56). No Canadian women raced.
In the men’s final, Klæbo simply pulled away from the field, as he had done in most heats all day since winning the qualifier by 2.75 seconds. Emil Iversen was the closest to staying with him; after Klæbo eased up at the finish, his Norwegian teammate crossed the line just 0.64 seconds back. Sweden’s Teodor Peterson claimed third, +8.14, teammate Oskar Svensson fourth, +11.8, Norway’s Eirik Brandsdal fifth, +19.77, and Russia’s Gleb Retivykh sixth, +27.08.
For the U.S. both Simi Hamilton and Andy Newell placed fourth in their quarterfinals, after qualifying 16th and 23rd, respectively. They ended the day in 19th and 20th.
A large contingent of U.S. men competed, with the Alaska Pacific University duo of Logan Hanneman and Tyler Kornfield narrowly missed advancing to the heats, finishing 35th (+13.55) and 38th (+13.96), respectively. Teammate Reese Hanneman was 51st in the qualifier (+17.99) and Craftsbury GRP’s Ben Lustgarten 59th (+19.41).
A Canadian delegation also raced, with Julien Locke leading the way in 62nd (+21.26), Dominique Moncion-Groulx 65th (+22.70), Bob Thompson 66th (+24.48), and Antoine Briand 70th (+27.20).