Newell Leads Historic U.S. Sprint Finish
VERNON, B.C. (Dec. 11) – Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) led three U.S. men into the top 15 Sunday in a World Cup freestyle sprint won by Olympic champion Tor Arne Hetland of Norway while Canadian Beckie Scott won the first World Cup race of her career, capturing the women's sprint with Wendy Wagner (Park City, UT) 21st.
Hetland edged Sweden's Bjoern Lind with Ola Vigen Hattestad, another Norwegian, third and Swede Mikael Oestberg fourth in the 1.3K final round foursome on a sunshine day with temperatures in the mid-20s at the sovereign Lake Nordic Centre.
Newell finished 11th with Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI) scoring his first World Cup points by finishing 12th while Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) was 14th. It was the first time three U.S. men finished in the top 15 of a World Cup sprint. Narrowly missing the final heats was Lars Flora (Anchorage, AK), who was 31st in the prologue.
In the women's race, Scott – the 2002 Olympic pursuit champion – out-skied Germany's Claudia Kuenzel to the finish with Canadian teammate Sara Renner, bronze medalist in the classic technique sprint at World Championships last February, third. Fourth place went to German Manuela Henkel. Wagner was 21st while Lindsay Williams (Hastings, MN), a senior at Northern Michigan University and the current U.S. sprint champion, just missing finals, in 31st place.
“It was outstanding. Not a miracle, though, because they've all been working hard and today it all came together for all of them. And even though our guys all went out in the first round of finals, they were all right there at the finish – maybe three inches difference and we could have had them through to the semifinals,” said U.S. Coach Trond Nystad.
“Andy was eighth in the prologue and Chris was 11th,” he said. “We know Chris has that kind of speed even though he hasn't shown it lately, and today he really showed it. All three of them finished third in their heat, so they didn't move through to semifinals, but it was an outstanding day for them…and, for the women, too. It was good to have Wendy back in there, have Lindsay so close…and, really, to show we have a few people who can be in there.”
Nystad said the Americans also were thrilled with Scott's win and Renner's podium. “It was fantastic for the Canadians, such a good example and it shows how it pays off to have races here in North America. Beckie and Sara skied well but Phil Widmer qualified fourth, too, so that was another good moment for Canada. Sovereign Lake's a great venue and they really staged a world-class event…and how nice it could materialize in such Canadian success.”
The World Cup circuit heads next to Canmore, Alberta, the 1988 Olympic venue, for races Dec. 15-18.
VIESSMANN CROSS COUNTRY WORLD CUP
Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre
Vernon, BC – Dec. 11, 2005
1.3K Freestyle Sprints (4 make finals)
1. Tor Arne Hetland, Norway
2. Bjoern Lind, Sweden
3. Ole Vigen Hattestad, Norway
4. Mikael Oestberg, Sweden
11. Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, Vt.
12. Chris Cook, Rhinelander, Wis.
14. Torin Koos, Leavenworth, Wash.
31. Lars Flora, Anchorage, Alaska
39. Leif Zimmerman, Bozeman, Mont.
45. Colin Rogers, Limestone, Maine
49. Kevin Hochtl, Vail, Colo.
1. Beckie Scott, Canada
2. Claudia Kuenzel, Germany
3. Sara Renner, Canada
4. Manuela Henkel, Germany
21. Wendy Wagner, Park City, Utah
31. Lindsay Williams, Hastings, Minn.
42. Rebecca Dussault, Gunnison, Colo.
50. Kate Whitcomb, Limestone, Maine
53. Lindsey Weier, Mahtomedi, Minn.
54. Abi Larson, Bozeman, Mont.
For complete results: