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US 7th and 8th in Team Sprint at World Ski Championships

Sun, Feb  22, 2015 - By USSA

FALUN, Sweden  (Feb. 22, 2015) – The U.S. Skiers finished seventh on the men’s side and eighth for the women in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun. Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) and Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) skied well in their qualifying rounds, advancing to the final in the lucky loser position, but the short turn around proved to be too much for the U.S. men’s squad when a dominant Norwegian team blew apart the field. Similarly, the women, with a particularly strong leg from Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) advanced out of the semi-finals outright in second position. Diggins and teammate, Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) were unable to match their World Championship effort from the Val di Fiemme World Championships two years ago. Caldwell skied in place of returning champion, Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) who has struggled to find form this season.

Andy Newell in the finals of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Team Sprint Event. Newell and his teammate, Simi Hamilton, finished seventh. (Flyingpoint Photo)

Andy Newell in the finals of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Team Sprint Event. Newell and his teammate, Simi Hamilton, finished seventh. (Flyingpoint Photo)

“Team sprints are tough as a combination of sprinting and distance. If you’re feeling anything less than perfect, it’s a hard race,” Caldwell explained. Diggins agreed also citing their semi-final position relative to the start of the final,

“It is a definite disadvantage to be in the second semi final, to get that extra half hour of rest - to be in the first semi would have definitely been better, but that’s the luck of the draw.”

Hamilton and Newell, also suffering from less recovery in the second semi-final-to-final turnaround,  skied what Coach Chris Grover called, “A clean race, a tactically smart race.”

Hamilton explained feeling better as the race wore on, “One of the nice things about the team sprint is you get three chances per round. That helped as I felt better and better. We had great skis, the techs killed it.”

Newell highlighted the sharp nature of all three laps in the final, “I felt pretty good all day. The pace was hot in the final, even from the first lap. Petter really hammered out, even as early on the second lap. It was pretty strung out. I was just trying to get some drafting. People were going very hard in this one from the beginning and we gave it our all.”

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Andy Newell and Simi Hamilton finished sevennth in the men's team sprint competion today at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.
  • Sophie Caldwell and Jessie Diggins finished eighth in the women's competition.
  • Norway took home a double victory in decisive men's and women's races.

FOLLOW THE ACTION
Falun 2015 Full Event Replays - Universal Sports
Falun 2015 Event Highlight - USSA Network 

QUOTES
Simi Hamilton
Ok, I didn’t have the best feeling in my legs. I don’t know why that is. I recovered pretty well after Thursday. I was feeling a little tight today. It was fast and icy and hard which I prefer so that was cool.

One of the nice things about the team sprint is you get three chances per round. That helped as I feel better and better. We had great skis.

The first round was mellow. It’s the kind of course where its really advantageous to be leading in some places and not in others and position is really important. I made myself hang out in the pack.

Andy Newell
I felt pretty good all day. Pace was hot in the final. Even on the first lap.  Petter really hammered out, even as early on the second lap. It was pretty strung out. I was just trying to get some drafting. People were going very hard in this one from the beginning and we gave it our all.

Sophie
Team sprints are tough as a combination of sprinting and distance. If you’re feeling anything less than perfect, it’s a hard race.

Jessie
I was psyched for this. You never know what’s going to happen. We were trying to stay as close to the lead pack as possible. Skis were amazing.

It is a definite disadvantage to be in the second semi final, to get that extra half hour of rest- to be in the first semi would have definitely been better, but that’s the luck of the draw.

Head Coach Chris Grover
The team skied tactically well today. We had no big falls and in these tough fields, the teams both skied really cleanly.

The service team crushed it. I’m excited about how that work has come through for us all week.

In the end of the day we just didn’t have the motor to compete and some of that was a bit of bad luck being in the second semi final for both men & women.

RESULTS