They’re not the Northug family yet, but give them some time.
After Caitlin Patterson skied to a 17th place showing in this morning’s women’s 5k classic at the World Junior Championships, Scott Patterson wouldn’t be shown up, matching his older sister’s position in the men’s 10k in the afternoon.
According to Matt Whitcomb, the head coach of the American juniors here, Scott had told his sister that he would beat her placing in his own race, and he came a single second from doing just that. He ended up just 1:15 behind the winner, Norway’s Paal Golberg.
“I think it was the first time I’ve heard him trash-talk,” Whitcomb said.
Sam Tarling had a breakout race, just five spots behind Patterson in 22nd. David Norris and Tyler Kornfield, both recovering from illness, were 29th and 77th, respectively
Golberg improved on his silver medal from Monday’s sprint in today’s 10k, which he said is his favorite event. He battled with second-place Evgeniy Belov (RUS) for the entire race, trailing by less than two seconds at both intermediate time checks. But the Russian fell off the pace in the last three kilometers, conceding ten seconds to the Golberg by the finish.
Petr Sedov (RUS), who won both distance races at these championships last year, rounded out the podium another 25 seconds back.
After two days of fog and mist at the Notschrei Nordic Center, athletes were greeted today by bluebird skies and warm sun. Recent snowfall here combined with crisp temperatures made for a simple waxing day—Sverre Caldwell said that the men skied on straight fluorinated kick wax.
They needed every bit of it, as the 3.3k men’s loop here was almost entirely up and down, with very little double poling. None of the hills were too steep for striding, but that didn’t make the skiing any less tough.
“The course is so short that you hit those hills three times, and that’s a lot of climbing,” Tarling said. “The pain is all over.”
The fans were out in force, too. The final climb was lined with coaches and onlookers packed shoulder-to-shoulder, waving flags and screaming in a half-dozen different languages.
“I kind of knew they weren’t cheering for me,” Patterson said, since he wasn’t getting very much encouragement in English. “But it was still pretty sweet to hear them all.”
After two of four races down here, Whitcomb said that the best from his athletes is still to come.
“We have juniors that can be in the top five,” he said.
With some illness working its way around the team, Whitcomb added that “both Patterson and Norris felt like they were 80 percent today.” Kornfield is also still recovering from a fever.
Norris, though, should be on his way up, and Friday’s 20k pursuit should suit him very well after his recent fourth place in the U.S. Nationals 30k classic.
“Hopefully [today’s race] will warm me up for that,” he said.
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.