After a disappointing first two races here at Nationals, Garrott Kuzzy scratched from the classic distance event on Wednesday to prepare for today’s classic sprint. It’s looking like that was a pretty good idea.
In the qualifier this morning, Kuzzy topped the men’s field by almost two seconds, besting a pair of top domestic sprinters Mike Hinckley and Chris Cook, who were 1.73 and 2.31 seconds down, respectively.
Using his lanky technique to stride all the way up the major climb on the course, Kuzzy gave a major boost to his Olympic qualifying hopes, as his nearest rival—fellow Middlebury College alum Simi Hamilton—finished five seconds down in sixth.
For the men, the course was a little bit of everything. Skiers split down the middle on the biggest hill, with half opting to stride and half going to a herringbone. The rest of the course was mostly double-poling, with a couple more short climbs to break things up.
Wax didn’t seem to be an issue, with temperatures holding a few degrees below freezing.
Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.