ANCHORAGE, Alaska (March 29) – U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athletes Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) and Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) both capped their respective seasons Friday with U.S. distance titles to wrap up the 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships. Hoffman battled with Finnish skier Aku Nikander (University of New Mexico) throughout the men’s 50k classic, where Nikander took the win but the title went to the top U.S. athlete. Bjornsen teamed up with Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) to lead the women’s 30k and emerged with the victory and distance title.
Noah Hoffman and Sadie Bjornsen (seen here at 2013 U.S. Championships in Utah) both capped their respective seasons Friday with U.S. distance titles to wrap up the 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships. (Sarah Brunson/U.S. Ski Team)
I didn’t really know anything about Aku, I didn’t even know his name. He’s a good skier. I didn’t like my chances coming into the final stretch, but part of me was just glad to be with him. I did try a little bit over the final hills, but I just didn’t have a chance getting away from him.
He was better than me double poling all day. I was struggling and it’s been a long season and he was impressive and I’m glad to be done.
This is probably one that I’m going to remember most for the season, this and Holmenkollen, because I feel like it’s the hardest race. Since joining APU I’ve realized I may be more of a distance skier than a sprinter and, you know, I prefer that. I always want to sprint, but distance skiing is so fun for me.
We were just pushing so hard out there, making sure nobody was catching us. You always go into this race, the last race of the season like, ‘Oh, I hope we don’t go as hard as we can the whole time because I’m so tired,’ but when it comes down to it, it’s always more fun to do that anyway.
I was secretly hoping Sadie was going to win this race. I had a feeling a few days ago this was going to be her day.
I certainly felt like today the caliber is the highest it’s ever been for one of these races. I know these guys can ski really well on the Word Cup so it’s like, you know you’ve got to bring you’re A-game on a day like this.
(scroll down for men’s and women’s results)