MADISON, Wis. — Jennie Bender of Central Cross Country (CXC) did as she intended in Saturday’s 1 k classic sprint qualifier, the first race of the Madison SuperTour, posting the fastest time by 6.1 seconds.
Bender won the city sprint qualifier in 2:18.7, ahead of Hannah Dreissigacker (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) in second. Hilary McNamee (Maine Winter Sports Center) had the third fastest time in 2:24.9, 0.1 seconds behind Dreissigacker.
Eight women competed in the event, and all eight advance to the semifinals.
Bender, who said she focused on power rather than tempo, said she was focused on winning the qualifier.
“It’s kind of a challenge because I’m trying to work on improving my qualifying time,” she said. “It makes it a lot less stressful.”
Last skiing at altitude in Aspen, Colo., and Park City, Utah, Bender looked at the qualifier as a sprint workout.
“It’s just fun,” she said.
Dreissigacker said the conditions were great on the manmade snow: firm and not slushy despite temperatures in the mid 30’s.
Her teammate, Clare Egan, who was fourth in the qualifier, said she went as hard as possible on the one-lap course around the capital square.
“I don’t think of myself as a very strong double poler but I made it hurt,” Egan said. “Just tried to keep up with my tempo, keep turning it over. … I tucked a tiny bit on it but I don’t know if that’s the fastest thing to do.”
Women’s qualifier results
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.