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7th National Title for Freeman

US Championships

Wed, Jan  3, 2007 - By US Ski Team

HOUGHTON, Mich. (Jan. 3) - Three-time Olympian Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) collected his seventh national title Wednesday in the 10K classic technique race while Lindsey Weier (Mahtomedi, MN), a two-time Olympian, won her first U.S. gold medal, winning the women's 5K. It is the first time the U.S. Cross Country Championships have been in Michigan since 1956.

Freeman stormed over a two-lap course on the Michigan Tech cross country trails to win in 25:07.2 with Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) taking the silver medal in 25:49.7 as 2006 Olympic teammates filled the first five spots.

Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI), an NMU graduate, finished third with Andrew Johnson (Greensboro, VT) fourth and Lars Flora (Anchorage, AK) fifth.

Freeman also padded his overall lead in the Cross Country SuperTour standings as he earned his fifth consecutive victory. U.S. championships races double as SuperTour events with double points.

Freeman: "I came here confident"
"I had a good race. I came here confident and today I did what I came out here to do," Freeman said. A year ago, he won three gold medals at the championships on the Olympic trails at Soldier Hollow, UT.

The lack of recent natural snow and then an inch or so of fresh snow created mixed conditions, Freeman said. "We had some wet powder, some dry powder, some ice and even a little slush at the end, really running the gamut of conditions. The waxing team did a great job today."

Weier, who started three minutes earlier, held off Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) - one of her teammates on the last two Olympic squads - to win with a time of 14:51.7. Randall's time was 15:00.1 and Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA) took the bronze medal in 15:01.2 with CXC teammate Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis), the women's overall SuperTour leader, fourth.

Weier, who goes to college about 90 minutes away at Northern Michigan University, said she was a little nervous at the start "because we've only done two races since there's been no snow anywhere here and we didn't go out West to train" last month. However, she took off and never looked back.

Weier: You better be warmed up...
"The first two Ks are flat, so you really had to keep working hard, and then the last three Ks were rolling and had a couple of good uphills. But you definitely had to come to the start warmed up," she said.

She added, "This should give me some confidence. I've never skied four races in five days, but I hope this helps. We'll see."

Weier, who made the 2002 Olympic Team as a 17-year-old high school senior, was amazed at the course conditions. "For the most part, it was two sets of tracks, much better than yesterday. They must've worked on it all night; even since yesterday it's 10 times better...they did such a good job of preparing it," she said.

"It was a really fun day," said U.S. Head Coach Pete Vordenberg. "Kris just killed. Newell skied awesome and Cook skied awesome, and AJ skied awesome...but Kris just killed it. There hasn't been much snow, and the community has done an incredible job pulling snow from everywhere for these championships. They've trucked it in, they've shoveled it onto the trails...it's very impressive how they've done it with tons of volunteers and lots of hard work.

"The course is different than what was originally planned, so it's not particularly tough, which makes it tough to make a big time gap on someone. So that makes Kris' margin of victory even more impressive, but he's in very, very good shape. And it was fun to see Lindsey ski so fast. Kikkan skied well, so Lindsey had to be going fast...and she was. It was an exciting race," Vordenberg said.

A huge field of 424 racers - 250 men, 174 women - competed in the opening day of the short-distance championships. The men have a 15K freestyle race and the women race 10 kilometers Thursday.

2007 U.S. CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Michigan Tech Trails
Houghton, MI - Jan. 3, 2007
Men's 15K Classical Technique
1. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH/U.S. Ski Team, 25:07.2
2. Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT/U.S. Ski Team, 25:49.7
3. Chris Cook, Rhinelander, WI/U.S. Ski Team, 26:00.1
4. Andrew Johnson, Greensboro, VT/U.S. Ski Team, 26:05.2
5. Lars Flora, Anchorage, AK/Subaru Factory Team, 26:10.8
6. Rene Reisshauer, Germany/Denver U., 26:16.0
7. Garrott Kuzzy, Hayward, WI/CXC, 26:24.3
8. Zach Violett, Sun Valley, ID/FSx, 26:31.3
9. Bryan Cook, Rhinelander, WI/CXC, 26:33.1
10. Torin Koos, Leavenworth, WA/U.S. Ski Team, 26:40.1
--
Women's 5K CL
1. Lindsey Weier, Mahtomedi, MN/Northern Michigan U., 14:51.7
2. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, AK/U.S. Ski Team, 15:00.1
3. Laura Valaas, Wenatchee, WA/CXC, 15:01.2
4. Caitlin Compton, Minneapolis/CXC, 15:12.8
5. Karin Camenisch, Switzerland/Team Rossignol, 15:21.9
6. Taz Mannix, Anchorage, AK/U.S. Ski Team, 15:26.9
7. Lindsay Williams, Hastings, MN/Northern Michigan U., 15:27.1
8. Aurelia Korthauer, Fairbanks, AK/U. of Alaska Fairbanks, 15:29.3
9. Kristina Strandberg, Sweden/Subaru Factory Team, 15:29.7
10. Kate Whitcomb, Sun Valley, ID/FSx, 15:32.4

For complete results:
www.seniornationals.org