Soverign Lake, British Columbia – Laura Valaas (APUNSC/USST) defeated a strong Canadian contingent in the A-Final to take the victory in the Nor-Am freestyle sprint hosted by the Sovereign Lake Nordic Club. Valaas qualified in 7th, but appeared to strengthen as the day wore on, skiing to a convincing victory over top qualifier Milaine Theriault (CAN). Shayla Swanson (CAN), who won the first SuperTour event of the season in West Yellowstone, and finished second in the other, ended the day in third, continuing her strong start to the season.
Theriault's qualifying time of 2:34.44 was 2.33 seconds faster than the next best qualifier – Rhonda Jewett who ended the day in fifth. Valaas turned in a time of 2:40.03, but showed her top speed in the heats.
Said Theriault after the race, â€œI am really happy with my result today considering I didn’t even plan to race the sprints,â€ said Theriault, the three-time Olympian who is beginning her quest back to qualify for Canada’s World Cup squad. â€œI’m in good shape and really looking forward to skiing the distance races tomorrow.â€
FasterSkier blogger Brooke Gosling (CAN) finished fourth, and Alysson Marshall (CAN) took the final spot in the A-Final.
Kristina Trygstad-Saari (Saab Factory Team) was the second American behind Valaas, winning the B-Final for seventh overall. Her Factory Team teammate, Kristina Strandberg also raced the B-Final, finishing tenth overall, behind Canadians Sarah Daitch (8th) and Brittany Webster (9th).
Overall, the Canadians placed nine skiers in the top 12, USA had two, and Sweden one. Both North American nations fielded most of their top non-World Cup skiers, making for a challenging field.
Racing continued today with a 10km Freestyle.