Randall, Flora Win US Opener

FasterSkierNovember 22, 2004

Elite-level domestic racing got underway in the US this weekend with the Anchorage (Alaska) Winterstart races.

Normally the racing season starts in early November in Fairbanks, Alaska with North American Continental Cup races, which are then followed by another weekend of Continental Cup races in Anchorage. But this season the US Ski Team elected to go to Finland instead of Alaska, and the Canadian Team had good snow in their own backyard. Without the National Teams, Fairbanks decided not to hold their opener races this year.

Anchorage went ahead with their races, but had to wait a week longer than planned. Originally scheduled for last weekend, the races were delayed when warm weather threatened to melt away the snowpack. The snow survived (for the time-being anyway), and the race was held on a very challenging 4.7K loop on the Anchorage Hillside trails.

The men raced a 10K free technique race, while the women raced a 5K Free. Even without the National Teams, Anchorage was able to rely on its impressive amount of local talent (University of Alaska Anchorage team, Alaska WinterStars, Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center (APUNSC), and several former Olympians) to hold a top-level event.

In the women's race, 2002 Olympian and current National Sprint Champion Kikkan Randall led an APUNSC sweep of the top five with a 16 second victory over junior Tazlina Mannix. 2002 Olympian Aelin Peterson was third.

The men's field lost a number of top skiers due to the one-week delay. Lars Flora, James Southam, and Scott McArt all had to leave town this week to attend training camps in West Yellowstone. But despite their absence, there were still plenty of fast skiers in the race. Erik Flora, a coach for the APUNSC program, edged out his fellow coach Frode Lillefjell for the win by 13 seconds. Andrew Hunter, a recent Dartmouth College grad now skiing for APUNSC was third.

The USSA points race penalty was approximately 62 points (estimated) for the men – not bad for a race with three coaches in the top five (UAA coach Trond Flagstad was fifth, between two of his top athletes). The women's penalty was just over 100.

The next major stop on the domestic circuit will be later this week in West Yellowstone, Montana.

Hillside Park (Freestyle)

Women (4.7k)
 1) Kikkan Randall         14:54.2
 2) Tazlina Mannix         15:20.6
 3) Aelin Peterson         15:40.1
 4) Erin J Quinn-Hurst     15:56.9
 5) Aleta Phelps           16:57.2
 6) Kelsey Coolidge        17:20.4
 7) Hanna Johnson          17:25.8
 8) Erin Hamilton          17:27.6
 9) Jamie Bronga           18:32.7
10) Ky Eiben               18:35.8
11) Kati Clark             19:01.7
12) Kalen Ramey            19:24.7
13) Sarah Schoen           19:36.4
14) Rachel F Saul          19:39.9
15) Katherine Clark        21:00.2

Men (9.4k)
 1) Eric Flora             26:14.1
 2) Frode Lillefjell       26:27.5
 3) Andrew Hunter          26:33.2
 4) Kjetil Hagtvedt Dammen 26:34.8
 5) Trond Flagstad         27:02.1
 6) Zachary Violett        27:02.3
 7) Cory Smith             27:19.9
 8) Benjamin Sonntag       27:38.1
 9) Brian Gregg            28:05.0
10) Colin Quinn-Hurst      28:07.8
11) Adam Verrier           28:12.3
12) Patrick Johnson        28:48.4
13) Paul Schauer           28:53.4
14) Zachary Hall           29:00.8
15) Casey Fagerquist       29:38.5
16) Jason Lamoreaux        29:44.4
17) Cole Talbot            30:36.8
18) William Ross           31:05.3
19) Ryan J Mcclure         31:29.2
20) Trond B Jensen         31:58.2
21) Ian J Davis            32:59.5
22) Anson Moxness          33:02.1
23) Galen Johnston         33:24.0
24) Chester Fehrmann       33:38.8
25) Mark Paprocki          34:38.4
26) John Amor              37:36.5
27) Sam Flora              43:38.3
28) Konstantin A Gaskov    47:02.0


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