Whistler, B.C. – Emil Jonsson edged Swedish National Team teammate Peter Larsson for the victory in the freestyle sprint at Canadian Nationals. Devon Kershaw (CAN) finished third and Olympic sprint champion Bjorn Lind (SWE) was fourth.
The race featured an extremely tough field, with the top sprinters from Canada, Sweden and the US battling for the top spots.
Garrott Kuzzy (CXC) was the top American finisher in 6th place. Andy Newell (USST) tangled with Lars Flora in the semis and was relegated to the B-Final – which he won to take 7th on the day.
Newell posted the second fastest qualifying time behind Jonsson.
Said Kershaw after the race, “It was a good race and I tried all of the tactics needed to make it happen,â€ said Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont. â€œComing third is bittersweet for me, but to be the national champion is the icing on the cake of a good season.”
In the women's race, Kikkan Randall skied to her third victory in four races this week. The American start posted the fastest qualifying time by three seconds and controlled each of her heats. Canadian Sara Renner took second in a photo finish over Lindsay Williams (USST). As the first Canadian in the race, Renner took home the National Championship.
Olympic Sprint Champion Chandra Crawford (CAN) who won two World Cup skate sprints this season, lost her bid for the top spot was lost while making her patented charge to the top of the pack heading into the final corner when she caught a pole between her skis and crashed.
â€œIt was a really competitive final with perfect conditions,â€ said Renner. â€œNobody wanted to take the lead and were drafting behind. I was caught up front and that can be good and bad, but it was good today.â€
Racing at the 2008 Canadian National Championships conclude tomorrow with a 30/50km freestyle race.
Women's A-Final – Randall (USA) in the lead, Crawford (CAN) goes down (Photo Credit: Kazuma Takahashi/X-C.com)