2018 U.S. Distance Nationals (Craftsbury, Vermont): 30 k classic mass start
Back in Craftsbury on Tuesday, and coming off three-straight victories in the classic sprint, 10-kilometer freestyle mass start and mixed relay with her Stratton Mountain School (SMS) T2 Team teammates, Diggins, 26, pulled out her fourth-straight win in her last race of the season: the women’s 30 k classic mass start, which is part of U.S. Distance Nationals.
She did so in an all-out effort to the line, beating her fellow U.S. Ski Team (USST) member Sadie Bjornsen by just 0.4 seconds in 1:25:27.2 hours. Diggins, Bjornsen of Alaska Pacific University (APU), and another USST member Sophie Caldwell (SMST2) broke away from the pack on the first of five laps at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Caldwell dropped off the pace around 10 k and skied on her own for the next 15-plus kilometers before being caught by a chase group of six, led by Kikkan Randall (APU/USST), on the final lap.
Meanwhile, Diggins and Bjornsen skied together, trading the lead for the rest of the race. On the final short climb up to the stadium, Diggins pulled ahead slightly then extended her lead in the finishing straight. After finishing first and second, respectively, Diggins and Bjornsen laid on the ground for what seemed like a long time, particularly spent from the effort, before congratulating each other. Behind them, Randall outlasted the chase pack for third (+2:21.7), Caldwell followed just behind her in fourth (+2:23.1), Ida Sargent of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project (CGRP) and USST placed fifth (+2:26.5) and Rosie Frankowski (APU) finished sixth (+2:29.2).
Also in the top 10, Liz Stephen (USST) finished the last race of her professional career in seventh (+3:10.9), Caitlin Patterson (CGRP) eighth (+3:27.2), Kaitlynn Miller (CGRP) ninth (+3:56), and Chelsea Holmes (APU) 10th (+4:45.3).
Stratton had two wins on the day with Charlotte Ogden (SMS) winning the junior women’s 20 k classic mass start in 1:04:33.9. Canada’s Catherine Reed-Metayer (Skibec Nordique) placed second (+11.8), Waverly Gebhardt (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club) finished third (+33.8), and Phoebe Sweet (Craftsbury Nordic) was the third American junior in fourth overall (+1:10.2).
Spring Series concludes with the men’s 50 k classic mass start on Wednesday, starting at 9 a.m. EDT. Watch the races live on the SuperTour live stream.