WEST YELLOWSTONE, MT (Nov. 28) - USSA Cross Country SuperTour opened Friday in West Yellowstone with Canadians Ivan Babikov and Shayla Swanson taking wins. Kristine Strandberg (Anchorage), skiing for XC Oregon, was the top American in second. The U.S. Ski Teams Morgan Arritola (Ketchum, ID) was third.
"It was a good race. It was the first one of the season so I'm just warming into it, but I feel good about where I am right now," Arritola said. "It wasn't really my kind of course - it was really flat - so to do well on it gives me confidence for where I am and what I've been improving on. I'm excited and ready for the season to start."
Arritola led the way for seven of her female teammates to finish in the top 20, the closest of which was Morgan Smyth (Vernon, VT) who was fourth.
"On the whole, the women had a very successful day," Cross Country Development Coach Matt Whitcomb said. "This time of year we aren't looking a lot for results, but for training being absorbed. Today's results for the women show that the Team is on track."
Of the U.S. women, Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA) finished sixth, Lindsey Dehlin (Mahtomedi, MN) was eighth, Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) came in ninth and Rosie Brennan (Park City, UT) was 10th.
For the men, Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) finished one step off the podium, in fourth, and made the way for two of his teammates who also finished top 20.
"Race of the day was Noah Hoffman. He's a junior skier and he ended up fourth," Whitcomb said. "He's generally a longer distance, hill racer and today he succeeded on something much flatter. Fourth place was a really strong result."
Canada's Babikov was followed by Norway's Jesper Oestensen and Karl Nygren (Prior Lake, MN), both athletes with the University of Colorado, in second and third.
"This is our development squad over here in West Yellowstone, so the highlights aren't necessarily always the best results, but today was solid," Whitcomb said. "The organizers at West Yellowstone did a phenomenal job and John Farra deserves a lot of credit in making sure a successful race was held, as well."
The team continues with the SuperTour Saturday for a men's 10K and women's 5K freestyle.
West Yellowstone, MT - Nov. 28, 2008
Men's 15K Classic
1. Ivan Babikov, Canada, 40:23
2. Jesper Oestensen, Norway, 41:08.1
3. Karl Nygren, Prior Lake, MN, 41:10.3
4. Noah Hoffman, Aspen, CO, 41:38.7
5. James Southam, Anchorage, 41:39.1
13. Leif Zimmermann, , , 42:22.3
18. Matt Gelso, Truckee, CA, 42:39.9
31. Garrott Kuzzy, Hayward, WI, 43:20.6
Women's 10K Classic
1. Shayla Swanson, Canada, 34:56.6
2. Kristine Strandberg, Anchorage, 35:31.0
3. Morgan Arritola, Ketchum, ID, 35:51.5
4. Morgan Smyth, Vernon, VT, 36:00.5
5. Ma Mo Grevsgaard, Norway, 36:06.1
6. Laura Valaas, Wenatchee, WA, 36:08.7
8. Lindsey Dehlin, Mahtomedi, MN, 36.27.8
9. Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT, 36:38.0
10. Rosie Brennan, Park City, UT, 36:38.3
14. Lindsay Williams, Hastings, MN, 37:25.3
16. Taz Mannix, Talkeetna, AK, 37:29.6
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For complete results click here.