In sprint racing action in Rumford, Andrew Newell (US Development) and Katja Ivanova (National Guard) won the preliminary heats today. A very strong field of 16 men and 16 women qualified for the final heats and it made for an exciting afternoon.
Elimination heats got underway shortly after the qualifying was complete.
Advancing to the semifinals for the men were:
Andrew Newell and Chris Cook from Heat 1
Dave Chamberlain and Lars Flora from Heat 2
Torin Koos and Scott McArt from Heat 3
Carl Swenson and Kris Freeman from Heat 4
None of these were major surprises. Freeman, Cook, Chamberlain, Swenson, and Flora are all top sprinters and have been at the top of the results in all races this week. Newell and Koos are regarded as the fastest flat-out sprinters in the country. McArt,a former Dartmouth Ski Team captain, could be considered a surprise given that his results in the past year or so have not been up to his expectations. But he turned some heads with his advance to the semifinals of the 2001 Nationals sprint in McCall, ID, and has always skied well in sprints.
Of these eight, Chamberlain, Flora, Swenson, and Freeman advanced to the final. The pure sprinters were eliminated, and the final featured four of the best all-round skiers in the country.
In the end, the veteran Swenson came away with the victory. It was a tight final the whole way, with a mad dash to the line. And once again Swenson proved that no one in this country is better at turning it up one more notch when the finish line is in sight. He doesn't light up the prelims, but Swenson knows how to use his speed when it counts. Swenson now had two national titles this week, from the sprint and the 10K free. Chamberlain was a close second, ahead of Flora. Freeman was right there in fourth, but just missed the podium for the first time this week.
<Men's Sprint Results– when available
For the women, advancing to the semi finals were:
Aelin Peterson, Katja Ivanova, Wendy Wagner, Kikkan Randall, Katie Ronsse, Lindsay Williams, Sigrid Aas, Christine Bisson.
In the first semifinal it was a dramatic sprint to the line by Wagner, Randall and Peterson. It was so close that it took the judges a few minute to determine the winner. After review, it was determined that Randall and Peterson would move on to the final. In the other semi, Ivanova dominated, and was followed to the line by Aas.
In the final, it was all Ivanova, who won by about 10 meters and, like Swenson, won her second freestyle event of the week. Ivanova was dominant in all of her heats as she marched towards the title. She won the women's sprint ahead of Alaskan phenom Kikkan Randall, who was participating in her first race of the week after battling illness and allergies. University of Alaska Fairbanks skier Singrid Aas was third, and prelim winner Aelin Peterson, also from Fairbanks, Alaska, took fourth. Randall and Peterson both skied in the sprint in the 2002 Olympics.
<Women's Sprint Results– when available