2018 U.S. SuperTour Finals (Craftsbury, Vermont): Mixed relays
For the second-straight year at the SuperTour’s season-ending Spring Series, the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) T2 Team won the mixed relay, with three of the four athletes who raced on last year’s 4 x 5-kilometer mixed relay squad.
Simi Hamilton, Sophie Caldwell, Paddy Caldwell, and Jessie Diggins combined for the win on Sunday in Craftsbury, tagging off in that order, with Diggins crossing the finish line first for the third-straight day. Diggins is undefeated in three races so far at Spring Series, after winning Friday’s classic sprint and Saturday’s 10 k freestyle mass start. The women’s 30 k classic mass start remains on Tuesday, followed by the men’s 50 k classic mass start on Wednesday.
Diggins and her Stratton teammates beat the Alaska Pacific University (APU) first team by 13.2 seconds at the line with a time of 53:43.2. The co-ed mixed relay has been held at SuperTour Finals for the last five years, and APU won the first three editions of the race from 2014 to 2016. Stratton won last year in Fairbanks, Alaska, with Ben Saxton, Hamilton, Caldwell, and Diggins.
APU led most of Sunday’s race, with Erik Bjornsen starting them off. He came through the first exchange in first place, just 0.2 seconds ahead of Hamilton in second. Behind them, Adam Martin of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project tagged in third, 0.8 seconds out of first.
Sadie Bjornsen then extended APU’s lead to 7.3 seconds over Stratton’s Sophie Caldwell in second. Behind them, Craftsbury’s Ida Sargent came through the second exchange in 10.3 seconds back in third.
APU’s Scott Patterson went on to hold off Stratton’s Paddy Caldwell on the third leg, tagging 3.5 seconds ahead in first. Diggins came up big for Stratton on the anchor leg, passing APU’s Kikkan Randall to secure the win.
Craftsbury held its third-place position during the second half of the race with Alex Howe and Caitlin Patterson to finish third, 56.2 seconds behind Stratton. More than a minute later, APU 2 (Tyler Kornfield, Rosie Brennan, Logan Hanneman, and Rosie Frankowski) crossed in fourth (+2:04). Stratton’s second team (Saxton, Julia Kern, Andy Newell, and Erika Newell) placed fifth (+2:47.3), APU 3 (Reese Hanneman, Becca Rorabaugh, Eric Packer, Hannah Halvorsen) sixth, Dartmouth Ski Team (Luke Brown, Katharine Ogden, Gavin McEwen, Abigail Drach) seventh, Northern Michigan University (Zak Ketterson, Vivian Hett, Ian Torchia, Nicole Schneider) eighth, Middlebury College (Peter Wolter, Cate Brams, Adam Luban, Katie Feldman) ninth, and US Biathlon (Russell Currier, Clare Egan, Raleigh Goessling, Susan Dunklee) 10th.
Thirty-one “official” teams and eight “unofficial” teams competed, with NMU/CSS/NYSEF leading the unofficial teams with a time of 1:00:01.9 (which ranked 19th overall).
Racers have the day off Monday before the women’s 30 k and men’s 50 k classic mass starts (part of U.S. Distance Nationals) on Tuesday and Wednesday, starting at 9 a.m. EDT. Watch the races live on the SuperTour live stream.