MIDWAY, Utah — Friday’s 10- and 15-kilometer freestyle races at Soldier Hollow were hardly a walk in the park. Racers had to tackle a modified 5 kilometer course, a slight variation of the 2002 Olympic 5 k that some thought was harder. Women went around twice, and the mental game was intensified by the individual start with skiers staggered at 15 seconds rather than 30. It made for a lot of chasing, some tricky passing situations and a lot of gritty racing. Take a look at some of the top women.
The first starters in the 2013 U.S. Cross Country Championships women’s 10 k individual start prepare for the two-lap pain game.
Sadie Bjornsen (APU/USST) among the early starters in Friday’s 10 k freestyle individual start at U.S. nationals at Soldier Hollow.
Annie Pokorny (Middlebury) out of the start. She went on to place fourth.
Rosie Brennan (APU) out of the start.
Caitlin Gregg (CXC) starting out. She finished 10th.
Eliska Hajkova (University of Colorado) out of the start. She went on to place ninth.
Caitlin Patterson (CGRP) starts out. She ended up fifth for a personal-best at nationals.
Erika Flowers (SMST2) takes off out of the start. She went on to place eighth.
Kate Fitzgerald (APU) takes off from the start en route to a third-place finish.
Mary O’Connell (Dartmouth) out of the start. She ultimately placed seventh for a career best at nationals.
Some excited women at the start of Friday’s 10 k free.
Sadie Bjornsen (APU/USST) sets a strong pace on the first of two laps in the women’s 10 k freestyle individual start on Friday at Soldier Hollow. She placed second in the event.
Rosie Brennan (APU) leads a pack, including Middlebury’s Annie Pokorny (second from r) on the first of two laps in the U.S. nationals 10 k freestyle individual start at Soldier Hollow on Friday. Brennan went on to win by nearly 11 seconds.
Middlebury College sophomore Annie Pokorny (r) and others, including Becca Rorabaugh (second from r) chase eventual winner Rosie Brennan (not shown) on the first lap. Pokorny ended up fourth and Rorabaugh was sixth.
Monica Markvardsen (24), APU’s Becca Rorabaugh (28) and Anna Svendsen (21) of the University of Utah ski together on the first lap.
Caitlin Gregg, 2013 U.S. nationals 10 k free Soldier Hollow
Chelsea Holmes (SVSEF) on her first lap.
Hajkova working the straightaway on the first lap.
Fitzgerald (r) and Flowers ski together on a long straightaway on the first of two laps.
O’Connell (Dartmouth) on her first lap.
Bjornsen coming through the stadium after her first of two laps.
Brennan (l), Clare Egan (c) of Craftsbury and Annie Hart (Dartmouth) come through the stadium after their first lap.
Gregg (CXC) enters the stadium to start the second and final lap.
Hajkova in the stadium after her first lap.
Patterson enters the stadium for the first time.
The straightaway before the second tier of Hermod’s Hill.
Bjornsen works her way up Hermod’s Hill for the second and final time on Friday.
Annie Pokorny (Middlebury) climbing Hermod’s for the last time on Friday.
Rorabaugh about halfway up the final climb.
Gregg pushing up Hermod’s for the last time on Friday.
Patterson (r) passes Hannah Peterson of Durango Nordic on the final climb.
Fitzgerald (l) and Flowers work their way up Hermod’s for the last time.
Fitzgerald and Flowers (behind) about halfway up Hermod’s on the last lap.
O’Connell leads Taeler McCrerey of Summit Nordic up the long climb.
Bjornsen approaches the finish line.
Bjornsen exhausted after women’s 10 k freestyle individual start at U.S. nationals at Soldier Hollow. She ultimately placed second to APU teammate Rosie Brennan.
Some of the early women’s finishers
Rorabaugh stays strong through the finish
Patterson brings it home for fifth place.
Fitzgerald leads Flowers into the finish for third and eighth place, respectively.
Winner Rosie Brennan (l) and runner-up Sadie Bjornsen embrace at the finish.
Three APU teammates converse at the finish: Rorabaugh (l), Brennan (c) and Bjornsen.
Volunteers organize bibs at the finish.
Mr. and Mrs. Bjornsen cheer on their daughter, Sadie, who was second in the 10 k freestyle race at U.S. Nationals on Friday. Later that afternoon, their son, Erik, won the men’s 15 k for his first national title.
Wiggy Brennan of Park City captures the moment as her daughter, Rosie, tops the podium in the 10 k freestyle race Friday in Soldier Hollow. Rosie races for APU and it was her first national title.
APU sweeps the women’s 10 k freestyle podium with winner Rosie Brennan (c), runner-up Sadie Bjornsen (l) and Kate Fitzgerald in third.