MIDWAY, Utah — The men’s 15 k freestyle at U.S. Nationals featured everything a ski fan could ask for: perfect weather, a close finish and ideal lighting. Click through our gallery to see how the race unfolded. More photos available at
Bert Boyer’s Gallery.
Erik Bjornsen warming up before the start.
The first starters get ready to go.
Dylan McGuffin (CGRP) steps out of the gate.
Tucker McCrerey (UU)
Sylvan Ellefson (SSCV Team HomeGrown)
Miles Havlick (UU)
Patrick Johnson (SVSEF)
Matt Gelso (SVSEF)
Erik Bjornsen (APU/USST)
Bjornsen hitting a powerful V2.
Sam Tarling (Dartmouth)
David Norris (MSU)
Mike Sinnott (SVSEF)
Brian Gregg (CXC)
Mark Iverson (APU)
Tad Elliott (SSCV Team HomeGrown/USST)
Bjornsen. Photo: Bert Boyer.
Tad Elliott beginning the climb up Hermod’s. Photo: Bert Boyer.
Bjornsen chases down Pat O’Brien (CGRP), Matt Gelso, and Matt Liebsch (Borton Volvo XC United) on lap 1.
Elliott charging hard on lap 1.
Dylan McGuffin (CGRP)
Torin Koos (BSF/Rossignol) on lap 1.
Patrick Johnson (SVSEF) and Tim Reynolds (CGRP)
Matt Gelso (SVSEF) leading a train through the stadium on the first lap; Erik Bjornsen (APU) is tucked behind Eric Packer (SMS T2).
Brian Gregg (CXC) and Bryan Cook (CGRP) come over the bridge to begin lap 2.
Tad Elliott (SSCV) catching up to Mark Iverson (APU).
Hermod’s Hill from a distance.
Gelso and Bjornsen beginning to work their way up Hermod’s on lap 2. Photo: Bert Boyer.
Gelso leading Bjornsen on the second ascent up Hermod’s.
Cook and Gregg and Hermod’s.
Skiers nearing the top of the big hill.
Patrick Johnson (SVSEF) on lap 2.
Elliott leading a pack up Hermod’s Hill, lap 2.
Matt Gelso (SVSEF) and Erik Bjornsen (APU) headed out for lap three.
Gelso and Bjornsen skied together for 12 out of 15 k.
Tarling and Norris.
Elliott and Cook after two laps.
Elliott doing work at the front of a train.
The final climb. Bjornsen and Gelso cranking up Hermod’s Hill in low gear.
Nearing the top…
Erik Bjornsen descending. Photo: Bert Boyer.
Dylan McGuffin finishing. Teammate Bryan Cook came through later in a tie for 7th.
Bjornsen giving his all in the final meters. Gelso, after leading Bjornsen for a good while, drops a few seconds back.
Gelso hammering for third place, his best-ever finish at U.S. Nationals.
Bjornsen lunges and wins the 15 k by 6 seconds over Tad Elliott.
A pack of A-seed skiers scrambling for those last few seconds, including Tad Elliott (2nd) and Brian Gregg (4th).
Elliott trying to pick up time through the traffic.
Bjornsen and Gelso walk back to their wamr-ups after finishing.
Patrick Johnson and SVSEF coach Colin Rodgers.
After Elliott’s name shows up on the timing board, Reese Hanneman (APU) congratulates Erik Bjornsen on his win.
The top three wait to ascend the podium.
Elliott, the defending 15 k champion, congratulates the new national title holder.
The podium. 1. Erik Bjornsen (APU/USST) 2. Tad Elliott (SSCV Team HomeGrown/USST) 3. Matt Gelso (SVSEF)
After his last athlete climbed Hermod’s, APU coach Erik Flora came down from the course to congratulate Bjornsen.
Friday was a good day for Bjornsen, Flora and APU.