FIS Nordic Combined Junior World Championships (Park City and Midway, Utah): Normal hill/5 k
[UPDATED] In the individual normal hill/5-kilometer Gundersen on Saturday, the last nordic-combined competition of 2017 Nordic Junior World Championships, American Ben Loomis captured his first top 10 in his third Junior Worlds in ninth place.
Eighteen-year-old Loomis jumped to 10th then picked off one place in the 5 k to finish ninth, 1:22.3 minutes behind the winner, Germany’s Vinzenz Geiger.
Geiger led after the jump and started the ski race 4 seconds ahead of Japan’s Yuto Nakamura in second. Geiger was able to hold off Finland’s hard-charging Arttu Mäkiaho, who raced from ninth to second, by 22.6 seconds. France’s Laurent Muhlethaler raced from fifth to third (+23.9) for the final spot on the podium, while Nakamura slipped to fourth (+42.8).
The U.S. had two in the top 15 with Stephen Schumann in 15th (+1:44.3), up from 20th after the jump. Grant Andrews placed 33rd (+2:40.0) and Tucker Hoefler finished 46th (+3:56.9).
FIS Nordic U23 World Championships (Midway, Utah): 15/30 k skiathlon
It was a Russian affair and a head scratcher for the photo-finish crew at U23 World Championships on Saturday, with three Russians putting enough time on the rest of the field in the men’s 30-kilometer skiathlon that they had time to slow to a stop and inch across the line in unison.
The jury ultimately had to decide who won, awarding it to Alexander Bolshunov in 1:15:31.5 hours, 0.2 seconds ahead of Alexey Chervotkin in second. Denis Spitsov was listed as third (+0.5). France’s Jules Lapierre came closest to the Russians in fourth, finishing 11 seconds later.
The field was considerably strung out by the end of the race, with Switzerland’s Jason Rueesh finishing 14.3 seconds out of first in fifth and Norway’s Gaute Kvaale crossing the line in sixth (+33.0), ahead of France’s Valentin Chauvin in seventh (+49.1), and Andorra’s Irineu Esteve Altimiras in eighth (+56.8).
American Paddy Caldwell (SMS/USST) placed ninth for the second-straight race at U23s, finishing 1:24.4 behind the winner.
The U.S. men had three in the top 15 for their best day of the championships, with John Hegman (SVSEF) placing a 11th (+1:53.5) and Adam Martin (NMU) 15th (+2:23.3) for their best results at U23 Worlds.
Evan Palmer-Charrette (NTDC Thunder Bay) led the Canadian men in 26th (+5:44.6). Alexis Dumas (CNEPH) finished 33rd (+9:02.7) out of 36 finishers. Several North Americans did not finish, including Canada’s Julien Lamoureux and Julien Smith, and American Cal Deline.
In the women’s 15 k skiathlon, Lotta Udnes Weng achieved her first gold of U23 Worlds, holding off Finland’s Johanna Matintalo by 3.8 seconds and crossing the line in 40:50.9 minutes. Russia’s Yana Kirpichenko reached the podium in third (+13.9), fewer than two seconds ahead of Weng’s twin sister, Tiril Udnes Weng in fourth (+15.6).
Dahria Beatty, of the Alberta World Cup Academy and Canadian National U25 Team, led the North Americans in 19th (+2:18.1), and teammate Katherine Stewart-Jones (NTDC Thunder Bay/NST U25 Team) was 21st (+2:29.3) for her best U23 Worlds result.
The Czech Republic’s Petra Hyncicova (University of Colorado-Boulder) followed in 22nd (+2:30.7), and three Canadian women finished in the top 30 with Frederique Vezina (CNEPH) in 29th (+3:36.2). Jenn Jackson did not finish.
Jesse Knori (University of Colorado-Boulder) was the top American in 30th (+3:40.1), Alayna Sonnesyn followed in 31st (+3:42.5), Nichole Bathe (University of Alaska Fairbanks) in 33rd (+4:36.9), and Corey Stock (Bridger Ski Foundation) in 36th (+5:42.1).
Mathilde Petitjean, who races for her native Togo but trains with the Quebec-based CNEPH, finished 38th (+6:04.8) of 38 finishers.
FIS Cross-Country World Cup (PyeongChang, South Korea): 15/30 k skiathlon
The second day of World Cup racing in PyeongChang, South Korea, took place this Saturday, with a skiathlon event for both genders. The women raced a total of 15 kilometers, the first 7.5 k leg classic and the second 7.5 k leg freestyle. Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk came away with the women’s win (her first in three years), getting back to her old ways of breaking away from the pack to finish first in 43:54.7 minutes. Liz Stephen of the U.S. Ski Team (USST) claimed second place (+56.0), while Japan’s Masako Ishida took third (+1:14.8).
For Stephen, second matched her best individual result in a from two years ago, when she placed second in a 10 k freestyle in Rybinsk, Russia. This year at the Tour de Ski, Stephen posted the second-fastest time up the final climb in Val di Fiemme, Italy. For Ishida, it was her first podium since 2009.
Caitlin Patterson, racing for the U.S., finished just off the podium with a career-best fourth (+1:21.4) for her first top 20 on the World Cup, and American Liz Guiney placed 13th (2:21.7) for her first top 20 as well. Jessica Yeaton, who trains with Alaska Pacific University and races for Australia, came in 24th (4:58.6).
Two Canadian women competed with Annika Hicks leading the team in 26th (+5:17.8) followed by Sadie White in 29th (+6:54.7) for their first World Cup top 30s.
In the men’s 30 k skiathlon that followed, Russia’s Petr Sedov broke away during the skate leg to take a decisive victory over Norway’s Daniel Stock and Mathias Rundgreen, finishing in 1:18:49.6 hours, 22.5 seconds clear of second place. It was Sedov’s first World Cup win and podium, and the first individual podiums for Stock and Rundgreen as well.
Rundgreen edged Russia’s Konstantin Glavatskikh for the final spot on the podium, with both being listed as 42.1 seconds behind Sedov.
While Rundgreen held off three others for third place, including Sweden’s Gustav Eriksson in fifth (+46.8), Japan’s Keishin Yoshida in sixth (+47.1), and Russia’s Alexander Utkin in seventh (+49.0), American Noah Hoffman kept his distance ahead of the second chase group to finish eighth (+1:06.2) for his best result in a non-World Cup stage since placing eighth in a 2012 skiathlon in Canmore, Alberta. (Hoffman won the time of day in the 15 k pursuit four years ago in Kuusamo, Finland.)
Also for the U.S., Scott Patterson was next across the line in ninth (+1:28.4) for his first World Cup points, and Matt Gelso finished 19th (+5:00.8) for his first top 20.
Brian McKeever of Canada’s Para-Nordic Ski Team was the lone Canadian finisher in 29th (+8:48.9). Bob Thompson was listed as placing 32nd of 37 after being lapped, and Simon Lapointe did not finish.
NorAm Eastern Canadian Championships (Cantley, Quebec): Classic interval start
The NorAm mini tour at the Nakkertok Nordic Centre continued on Saturday with Eastern Canadian Championships with classic individual start races.
In the men’s 15 kilometre, Lappe Nordic’s Andy Shields took a lead in the first lap and held on to win in 39:14.7, just 0.7 seconds ahead of CNEPH’s Ricardo Izquierdo-Bernier. Team R.A.D.’s Russell Kennedy collected his second bronze of the weekend, 24.7 seconds back.
SMS Elite’s Anne Hart won the women’s 10 k in a reversal of Friday’s sprint podium. Hart’s 30:03.3 finish gave her a 9.3 second edge on CNEPH’s Sophie Carrier-Laforte and 20.0 seconds on AWCA’s Maya MacIsaac-Jones.
For the 123 men and 77 women doing the full distance, the weekend is a mini tour. For the younger categories, it is three separate events allowing the kids who couldn’t skip school on Friday to race Saturday and Sunday.
There should be over 700 finishers today with 768 on the start list. The volunteers will have more hours of work even after the open categories have finished.
Results will update continuously as more categories start.