Natasha Naryshkina continued to dominate the Mid-west SuperTour circuit with a win in today's classic sprint race at the Telemark resort in Cable, Wisconsin. Telemark is famous for being the start of the North America's largest annual ski race, the American Birkebeiner. But today it was pure power that mattered in a much faster race.
Competition in the women's race was significantly less than in the men's, with only 11 women racing, however there were plenty of top skiers present. Naryshkina led the individual qualifying round with a time of 2:51 on a longer, hilly course that favored all-around distance skiers more than most sprint courses.
The top 8 from the qualifying round went straight into semifinals. The four to advance to the A-Final were Naryshkina, Erin Hood of Anchorage's APUNSC, Canadian racer Shayla Swanson of x-c.com, and FSx racer Kate Whitcomb of the Maine Winter Sports Center.
All four skiers stayed close for most of the way around the loop, but it was Naryshkina who got out front early on and stayed there, pounding out an intense diagonal stride up both major climbs and a fierce double pole into the finish. Erin Hood was the closest to Naryshkina, pushing from behind on both hills and holding off Shayla Swanson all the way to the finish.
Women's Podium: Left to Right are Hood, Naryshkina, and Swanson (3rd)
Men's and Women's Heat Brackets:
1 63 Naryshkina, Natasha Rossignol/RSSS x6072276
2 64 Hood, Erin APUNSC 3535012 A5221577
3 62 Swanson, Shayla x-c.com 1341898
4 61 Whitcomb, Kate FSx/MWSC 1251494 E5241328
5 68 Benson, Jacqui Caledonia Nordics 1340928
6 70 Havlova, Pavla UAF 3155084 CC6139SR
7 66 Coogan, Corey Alpina Racing 3535039 4682902
8 72 Hueberli, Muriele Team Rossignol 1312507
9 65 Compton, Caitlin Subaru Factory Team 3535021 C5188735 00:03:11.74
10 71 Olson, Ingrid UAF N/A A5951660 CC6134CH 00:03:18.11
11 69 Chamberlain, BethAnn US Biathlon Development USBA 00:03:44.52