The group of junior and U23 skiers who stayed in Europe to race a series of Scandinavian Cup races in Latvia and Estonia wrapped up their Baltic stay with strong results.
Reese Hanneman (APU), the lone US man to start, finished 36th in the 15km classic.
“It was a very positive experience, even beyond the good (relatively, for me) result, because I got to ski with some very fast guys that were lapping through with me,” Hanneman wrote in an email to FasterSkier.
He finished 2:15 behind winner Karel Tammjarv (EST), and just over two minutes behind World Cup veteran Jaak Mae (EST), who placed fourth.
“To be only around two minutes behind Jaak Mae was a great race for me to leave Europe with,” Hanneman said.
The Fairbanks native was unsure of how the day would go when he woke up with stiff back – described as “one massive knot,” attributed to double poling the sprint qualifier the day before.
But the back loosened up in the warm-up, and Hanneman took the strategy that the US women had success with – “trying to start comfortably and really turn the screws as it went on.”
Ida Sargent (CGRP) led the women with another good performance as she tunes up for World Championships. She placed 12th, 1:07 behind winner Triin Ojaste (EST) in the 10km classic event.
Teammate Jennie Bender (CXC Elite) was only 17 seconds behind in 17th place. If initial points listed on the results hold up, the 76.28 point performance will easily be Bender’s top career result.
Becca Rorabaugh (APU) finished 21st, and Heather Mooney (SMS) 22nd. Like Bender, Mooney’s FIS points easily topped her previous career-best, just missing the magical 100 point mark.
Sixty-seven men and 34 women contested the event.
Men’s 15km Classic (PDF)
Women’s 10km Classic (PDF)