MIDWAY, Utah — The women’s classic sprint at Soldier Hollow was a nail-biter of a race, decided in the final meters of the A-final when Jennie Bender (CXC) eked ahead of Sadie Bjornsen (APU/USST) to take her first U.S. Nationals title. Click through the photos below to relive the excitement. For more photos of the qualifier, senior heats and junior heats, check out
Bert Boyer’s gallery.
Quarterfinal 1 leaving the stadium.
Quarter 1: Sadie Bjornsen (APU) and Corey Stock (Dartmouth) lead on the plateau. Photo: Bert Boyer.
Quarterfinal 2 on the plateau.
Quarter 2: Becca Rorabaugh (APU), Liz Guiney (UNH) and Rose Kemp (UU) go head to head. Photo: Bert Boyer.
Rorabaugh and Guiney go 1-2 to advance from Quarterfinal 2.
Quarterfinal 3 leaves in the starting lanes.
Heather Mooney (Middlebury) changing lanes.
Quarter 3: Jennie Bender (CXC) leads Kate Fitzgerald (APU), Jessica Yeaton (MSU) and Heather Mooney (Middlebury). Photo: Bert Boyer.
Bender and Yeaton leading Quarterfinal 3.
Quarterfinal 3, led by Bender and Fitzgerald, sweeps down the back descent.
Fitzgerald and Bender.
Bender leans into her poles to take Quarterfinal 3.
Quarterfinal 4: Annie Hart chases down Sophie Caldwell (out of frame).
Quarter 4: Sophie Caldwell (SMS T2) separates from the field. Photo: Bert Boyer.
Quarter 4: Annie Hart (Dartmouth), Clare Egan (CGRP) and Anika Miller (Payette Lakes Sports). Photo: Bert Boyer.
Sophie Caldwell creating a gap on the field in Quarterfinal 4.
Heather Mooney (Middlebury).
Egan and Miller.
Caldwell coasts for an easy advance to the next round.
Heidi Halvorsen (GMVS) gains an early edge in Quarterfinal 5.
Felicia Gesior pulling away.
Quarter 5: Felicia Gesior leads down the hill. Photo: Bert Boyer.
Quarter 5: Heidi Halvorsen (GMVS) and Parker Tyler (UU) on the descent. Photo: Bert Boyer.
Semifinal 1: Bjornsen leads out of the gate.
Sadie Bjornsen and Liz Guiney crest the first hill in Semifinal 1. Photo: Bert Boyer.
Bjornsen, still leading up to the high point before the big descent.
Corey Stock and Liz Guiney lead the chase.
Bjornsen cruises to the win in Semifinal 1. Rorabaugh and Brennan advance in 2nd and 3rd for an APU sweep.
Sophie Caldwell gets to a good start in Semifinal 2.
Caldwell leads again over the plateau, with Brennan in the hunt. Photo: Bert Boyer.
Jennie Bender and Felicia Gesior just behind. Photo: Bert Boyer.
Caldwell creating a gap before the descent.
Brennan and Bender catching up.
Bender successfully used the slingshot effect to work her way into the lead by the finish of Semifinal 2.
The women’s B-Final: Stock leading Mooney and Guiney. The trio ended up 1-2-3 in the heat for a collegiate sweep, placing 7th, 8th and 9th overall. Photo: Bert Boyer.
The women’s A-final. Caldwell and Bjornsen get off to quick starts to lead the heat out of the stadium.
Bjornsen and Caldwell fighting for the lead on the plateau, with Bender on their tails.
Bjornsen and Caldwell. Photo: Bert Boyer.
The stadium holds its collective breath as the final comes into the final stretch, Bender gaining on Bjornsen with each pole plant.
Bender pulls event with Bjornsen.
…and starts to inch ahead.
Bender lunges, the finish line catches Bjornsen by surprise, and the national title goes to the skier in red.
Jennie Bender (CXC) receives a congratulatory hug.
The women’s podium: 1. Jennie Bender (CXC) 2. Sadie Bjornsen (APU/USST) 3. Rosie Brennan (APU).
Bender borrows FasterSkier’s phone to call her mom after the podium ceremony.