From NENSA and FasterSkier:
Canadian Daria Gaiazova continued a dominant Spring Series week, winning the 10K Classic, the Team Sprint, and today's 5K Freestyle while finishing 2nd in Thursday's individual sprint. Alaskan APUNSC teammates Tazlina Mannix and Olympian Kikkan Randall both made it to the podium. At the finish line, Mannix held second place for a brief moment before Randall topped her time to move her down to third. Mannix outgunned a number of other top skiers including Karin Camenisch (4th) and Maine Winter Sports Center athlete Kate Whitcomb, who came in fifth ahead of Alice Nelson, Dorcas Wonsavage, Christine Bisson, Kate Underwood, and Kristina Strandberg.
Conditions for the women's 5km race were somewhat soft but quite fast, thanks to a decision to move start times to earlier in the morning before warming temperatures could soften and slow the course. The winner Gaiazova, who had the fastest time by a whopping 31 seconds (13:20.7), said with the fast conditions she was able to one-skate (V2-alt) most of the hills.
University of Vermont team member Emelia Demarchis
Zach Violett (bib #1) and Justin Freeman ready in the start gate
Brayton Osgood pushes into the finish for 10th place
Middlebury college standout Garrott Kuzzy started fast and had the leading time early on, catching and skiing with previous starter Justin Freeman (Fischer/Salomon) before the end of the first 5km lap. Kuzzy struggled to maintain his position on the second grueling lap however, losing some time on Justin Freeman before the finish. Kuzzy managed to hang on enough to cross the line with the fastest time so far, but reports were already coming in from the woods that the race was looking to be a close battle between Justin's brother and fellow 2006 Olympian Kris Freeman (US Ski Team) and Minnesotan hero Chad Giese (Subaru/Salomon Factory Team.)
Meanwhile the continually astounding J1 skier from Canada, Alex Harvey, emerged into the stadium for the final 350 or 400 meters, and appeared to be giving it absolutely everything as his French-speaking coaches bellowed (with nearly equal effort) something about him being only 5 seconds back. Harvey impressively topped Kuzzy's time by a mere 2.9 seconds to take over the lead temporarily.
Finally Kris Freeman came charging into the homestretch to knock almost 40 seconds off of Harvey's time. The only question was whether it was enough to hold off the fast-finishing Giese, who came sprinting into view after about a minute and a half – the exact amount he started behind Freeman – and with a final lunge, bested the top-ranked American skier by 1.8 seconds for the win.
Giese had arrived at Spring Series on Thursday and showed that he was in good form, taking third in the sprint final behind Freeman and Canadian Phil Widmer. Today he was able to follow up and improve on that result despite the soft conditions which he said he usually doesn't do as well in.
With the 5km/10km races complete, there remains “only” one more day of racing at the TAMC Spring Series, though in terms of total race kilometers, the athletes who will be competing in tomorrow's 30km/50km mass-start classic National long-distance Championship are only about halfway done. The races have been moved to the nearby Fort Kent venue where snow conditions are significantly better.
Women's 5km results:http://www.nensa.net/sched&result/2006/Women_SS_5K.pdf
Men's 10km results: http://www.nensa.net/sched&result/2006/Men_SS_10K.pdf
More photos as well as several videos from today's races will be added shortly to the Fasterskier Multimedia gallery. There are also more video clips and lots of photos from the SuperTour, US Nationals, and Junior Nationals. Click here to browse!
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