With 382 scheduled starters in today's US Nationals Freestyle races in Rumford, Maine, it was believed to be the largest US Nationals field in history. In fact, the field was so large that the men's start had to be delayed an hour in order to get all the women started and finished. With that many skiers and fast snow conditions, the times were extremely tight. In many cases, 10 seconds was the difference in 15 or so places. The competition was exciting and intense.
Katja Ivanova (National Guard) and Carl Swenson (US Ski Team) took advantage of the hard and fast conditions at Black Mountain to post blistering wins in the 5K & 10K Freestyle races.
|Katja Ivanova was the winner of today's 5K free|
Katja Ivanova, originally from Russia and a former UVM skier, now skiing for the US National Guard (we aren't quite sure how that works), was the winner in a time of 13:27 over Sarah Konrad (Alpina/Madshus) and Wendy Wagner. This was Konrad's best finish since returning to racing a couple of years ago. She also had a 3rd place finish in a 15K free Continental Cup race earlier this winter in British Columbia. It was a very good day for the Alpina/Madshus Team as Konrad's teammates Aubrey Smith (also a US Development skier) and Aelin Peterson took fourth and fifth.
<Full Women's Results–
|Sarah Konrad was second overall|
Carl Swenson started fast and kept up a relentless pace to outdistance Kris Freeman (US Ski Team) by about 30 seconds. Carl had a twenty second lead over Freeman after one lap and increased the lead on the second lap for th win. Andrew Johnson (US Ski Team) took third. Andrew has been consistently in the top 5 all season, but has yet to win. Johnson's performance today, only 11 seconds behind Freeman, could be a sign that he will be ready to challenge for the win very soon. Fourth was older Freeman brother, Justin (Rossignol), followed by local favorite Dave Chamberlain, racing for LL Bean. He was followed closely by Lars Flora and Patrick Weaver (Atomic).
<Full Men's Results
The racing will continue tomorrow (Tuesday) with a 5/10K Classic. This race is not a pursuit.
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