Mt. Itasca, Coleraine, Minnesota – The US SuperTour continued with a weekend of 10k’s – men and women raced a 10km Classic on Saturday, and a 10km Freestyle on Sunday.
Saturday – 10km Classic
The cold front hit northern Minnesota right on time for the MT Itasca SuperTour. All the Anchorage waxing experience definitely paid off! -12F predictions for 8:00AM caused the jury to set the start back to noon. Even colder than anticipated lows set it back a bit more to 1:00PM. With blue bird clear skies and 10 mph winds at -4F the Men’s 10km jumped got under way.
Although balaclavas were the norm and athlete ID was a bit difficult, coaches and spectators were able to identify their favorite athletes and cheer them around the courses and through the stadium. Very close racing throughout the day created heated competition even though the daily high was +1F.
Dave Chamberlain (MWSC,Fischer/Craft) won the men’s race, edging CXC Elite’s Bryan Cook by 1.4 seconds. Harry Seaton (NTDC/Tam Haywood) was third, another 19.2 seconds back. Brian Gregg (CXC Elite) just missed the podium, 1.5 seconds behind Seaton.
In the women’s race, Kristina Strandberg (Saab Salomon Factory Team) skied to a convincing 54 second win over Lindsey Dehlin (USST). Caitlin Compton (CXC Elite), fresh off the Whistler World Cups, was third, +1:16.
The field was large and relatively deep as the event included the CCSA collegiate races. Over 150 skiers competed on the first day.
CXC, skiing in their backyard, fared well, placing a total of eight skiers in the top ten between the men’s and women’s races.
Racing wrapped up at 4;30 PM as the sun dipped behind the hills and temps began dropping to the anticipated -24F overnight lows.
Sunday – 10km Freestyle
Mathew Liebsch led a CXC men’s sweep of the podium in the 10km Freestyle ahead of teammates Brian Gregg and Bryan Cook. Splits had Gregg and Liebsch tied at 4km but Liebsch built an 18 second lead on the second lap to win his first SuperTour. Cook who is known to be a strong finisher closed to just 3 seconds behind Gregg. Liebsch raced in his first World Cup events last weekend in Whistler, and is coming off an impressive second place finish in the 10km freestyle at US Nationals.
The CXC trio finished 40 seconds ahead of fourth place, Canadian Luke Vilakinen (NTDC/Big Thunder Nordic). Santiago Ocariz of University of Wisconsin Green Bay continues his strong season posting the top collegiate time. Saturday’s winner, Dave Chamberlain (MWSC, Fischer/Craft) finished 11th.
Caitlin Compton of CXC led from the wand to win the Women’s race by a minute. Although the race was interval start, Compton crossed the line in an exciting sprint finish ahead of CXC teammates Kristina Owen (8th) and Maria Stuber (5th). Kristina Strandberg (Saab Salomon Factory Team) finished second with a 50 second gap on third place Lindsey Dehlin (USST). Kelly Chaudoin of Gustavus Adolphus won her first collegiate race, nearly a minute ahead of the next college skier.
The Midwest Gand Prix continues as the SuperTour moves to the Telemark Resort in Cable Wisconsin. The action begins on Wednesday the 28th with a freestyle sprint. After two days off, racing continues on Saturday the 31st – 5/10km individual start classic. The SuperTour will be combined with a Collegiate and Junior race.
Contributing Source: CXC