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Nordic Notes: Randall to 'Scramble in Relay'

FIS Nordic World Ski Championships

Wed, Feb  28, 2007 - By US Ski Team

SAPPORO, Japan (Feb. 28) - Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) will ski the "scramble" (leadoff) leg Thursday for the U.S. Ski Team in the women's 4x5K relay at the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.
 
(l-r) Sarah Konrad, Kikkan Randall, Laura Valaas, Caitlin Compton and Lindsey Weier - the women's U.S. Cross Country team at the 2007 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships (credit: Doug Haney/U.S. Ski Team)
 
She'll be followed, according to Head Coach Pete Vordenberg, by Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA) in the second classic technique leg and then Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis) in the first freestyle leg with Sarah Konrad (Laramie, WY) skiing anchor. Compton leads the USSA Cross Country SuperTour, the premier schedule of domestic races nationwide each winter, while Valaas is second overall and has clinched the sprint title.

"Kikkan's been working on her distance racing, and this is only a 5K leg, and she's good in mass start events so I'm excited to see what she'll do," Vordenberg said. "Classic is Laura's strong point, so this should work well and Caitlin was sick coming into the races but she's been getting better every day, so this will be a good distance for her. And Sarah's a great athlete, not having the skiing here she was looking for, but she's a good skater and we'll see how it plays out for her."

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Lindsey Weier (Mahtomedi, MN) returned home Wednesday so she can prepare for the NCAA Ski Championships next week hosted by the University of New Hampshire. The cross country races will be staged at the renowned Jackson Ski Touring Center (with alpine races at Attitash Ski Area).

A senior at Northern Michigan University and former Junior World Championships athlete, Weier has competed in the NCAAs the last two seasons. A year ago, she returned from racing at the Olympics and was bronze medalist in the 5K classic race at the championships in Steamboat Springs, CO.

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U.S. sprinters Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), Torin Koos (Leavenwroth, WA) and Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI) have left the championships, heading to the next stop on the World Cup tour - Lahti, Finland.

They were accompanied by Coach Justin Wadsworth, a three-time Olympian and former U.S. champion who is in his first season as a U.S. coach. They weren't going to race in either the men's 4x10K relay or the final event of the '07 Worlds, the 50K classic technique race Sunday. So they headed to Lahti to accelerate adjusting to the travel and to be healthy for the final few weeks of the World Cup season.