Note: Due to a change in the results from the women’s sprint qualifier, this article has been updated.
RUMFORD, Maine — Twenty-four hours after the 2012 U.S. Cross Country Nationals were originally scheduled to start, the women in the 1.4 k freestyle sprint qualifier found themselves racing on completely different conditions on Tuesday – and no one was complaining.
The second to start, Jessie Diggins (Central Cross Country) posted the fastest qualifying time in 2:58.84, nabbing a spot with 29 others in the heats, which started at noon on Tuesday.
Teammate Caitlin Gregg was second (3:01.37).
“I felt like I skied really well,” Gregg said. “I felt like I skied tactically how I wanted to on the course, saving enough for the key parts and skiing aggressive the whole way and feeling snappy and smooth.”
For her, the hard-packed conditions with some new snow were perfect.
“That kind of makes it so you can get a little bit of a bite with your ski,” Gregg said. “Obviously mixed in with all this transformed snow from that kind of freeze-thaw cycle and now with it being cold, it’s awesome out there, bullet-proof and really, really fast.”
The top-listed starter, Sadie Bjornsen (APU) did not race because of illness.
Diggins said she was ready to roll from the get-go, after Monday’s race was postponed because of rain Sunday night. On the unexpected off day, Diggins said she went for a run and felt a little sore as a result.
“It happens,” she said. “There’s no great snow anywhere really, except maybe Alaska, so it’s just what you have to do. … I did all the prep I could do so you just have hope it comes together at the right time, and maybe I’ll have one of those days, maybe not.”
Ida Sargent of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project and U.S. Ski Team qualified in third (2:59.7), despite feeling slightly sluggish.
“I was a little bit asleep,” Sargent said. “I got caught on my heels. … It took a little bit, but you’ve got to get going though.”
Her teammate at Craftsbury, Maria Stuber was fourth, and Sophie Caldwell (Dartmouth) was fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 was Anika Miller (Stratton) in sixth, Eliska Hajkova (CU) in seventh, Lauren Fritz (APU) in eighth, Emily Hannah (Steamboat) in ninth and Hannah Dreissigacker (CGRP) in 10th.
For complete race results, click here.
Audrey Mangan contributed reporting.
Alex Kochon (email@example.com) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.