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Nationals - Sprint and onward...

Thu, Jan  11, 2007 - By Pete Vordenberg,

Newell, Randall...

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Kikkan Randall leading out the sprint.  Great double-pole technique!

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Chris Cook - third place.  Also great technique!

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Andy Newell (1) and Chris Cook (6) heading out of the start.

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Rosie Brennen of Park City, Utah... one of the many junior women who are on the rise in U.S. cross country ski racing.

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Good crowds were out for both the individual and team sprint races.

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Kikkan Randall and Lindsey Weier.

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Kikkan Randall was especially fast on the uphill portion of the sprint.

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Laura Valaas was undefeated in Super Tour sprints going into nationals.  Only Kikkan - who has already had a 12th place on world cup this year - has beat her.

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The top three women.  Kikkan Randall - APU/USST in the middle won the sprint.  Laura Valass - CXC took second.  Lindsey Weier - NMU/USST took third.

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Torin Koos (front and center here) took second in the men's race behind Andy Newell.  Chris Cook took third ahead of Kris Freeman (to your right here).  Matt Gelso - CU/USST - in the background (bib 19) was the junior men's winner.  He had sugery on his knee this summer and is still feeling the effects of that.

I didn't take photos of the team sprint because I was too busy and too frantic.  I did give out two poles to skiers including one where I took a wicked spill on the ice in the process.  The team sprint is a great event - so fun to watch, super hard to race and requiring a good combination of speed and endurance.

I am posting this from the airport in Newark, New Jersey.  We are on our way to Europe from here.  Our first stop is Davos Switzerland.  From there most of the sprinters will be going to Russia and then everyone will meet up again in Estonia.  Then we are back to Davos for the world cup there.

So far everyone is healthy and in good to great shape.  This nationals was the best nationals for the US Ski Team for a while.  It is US Nationals but that doesn't mean someone from the US always wins.  This year American's won all the races, we saw some flashes of brilliance from some new and young faces and the US Ski Team itself had some great results.

The USA is on the rise.  Better believe that, slick.

See you all in the spring.  Train well, race fast.

(Vordenberg Images)

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