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)
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
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: