PRAZ DE LYS SOMMAND, France (Feb. 3) - The U.S. Ski Team's Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) and Morgan Arritola (Ketchum, ID) led the way for the U.S., each garnering two top-10 finishes, in the 2009 U23 World Championships, which ran Jan. 29-Feb 1 in France.
Stephens, who took the bronze medal at the U23 World Championships in 2008, and Arritola had fourth and fifth-place finishes dirung the 15K pursuit, as well as seventh and eighth-place finishes in the 10K freestyle.
"These were great results, from two very talented skiers, who skied very smart races, responded like champions to every move and it set a great tone for the entire week of races," U.S. Cross Country Development Coach Matt Whitcomb said. "This bodes well for them as they will move onto the World Cup at Val Di Dentro, Italy, and then onto the World Championships in Liberec."
The women's results led on each day of the championships and, according to U.S. Cross Country Head Coach Pete Vordenberg, the finishes are a testament to Stephen and Arritola's commitment to the Team.
"Morgan and Liz both came to the U.S. Ski Team as all in athletes - that is to say they have been one hundred percent invested in the Team," Vordenberg said. "They have marched up the pipeline taking it step-by-step and, while each has faced the inevitable set backs everyone faces in sport, are on track to assist this Team in achieving our shared goals. Their results both this year and last at the U-23 Championships are evidence of this."
Starting out the week for U.S. men, Matt Gelso (Truckee, CA) took 19th in the men's 15K freestyle and Simeon Hamilton capped the week off with a 17th place in the final sprint.
"Results at these U23 World Championships are a good marker for our program, especially in the sport of cross country skiing, where top results can take many years to develop," U.S. Nordic Program Director John Farra said. "This shows us that we are on track, and that we have some super talented young people in our country."
The competition in France now shifts to World Junior Championships, which run through Feb. 6.
2009 U23 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Praz de Lys Sommand, France - Jan. 29, 2009
1. Maurice Manificat, France, 37:48.1
2. Alexey Poltaranin, Kazakhstan, 38:19.8
3. Alexander Bessmertnykh, Russia, 38:31.5
4. Thomas Vestboe, Norway, 38:34.0
5. Yevgeniy Velichko, Kazakhstan, 38:39.5
19. Matt Gelso, Truckee, CA, 39:44.1
21. Tad Elliott, Durango, CO, 39:47.8
28. Simeon Hamilton, Aspen, CO, 40:20.7
1. Sylwia Jaskowiec, Poland, 28:39.1
2. Betty Ann Bjerkreim Nilsen, Norway, 29:21.3
3. Laura Orgue, Spain, 29:22.9
4. Astrid Oeyre Slind, Norway, 29:28.9
5. Anouk Faivre Picon, France, 29:51.5
7. Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT, 30:00.1
8. Morgan Arritola, Ketchum, ID, 30:15.2
17. Alexa Turizan, Sun Valley, ID, 30:59.8
1. Sergey Cherepanov, Kazakhstan, 1:26:50.2
2. Alexander Bessmertnykh, Russia, 1:26:52.7
3. Alexey Slepov, Russia, 1:26:59.2
4. Alex Harvey, Canada, 1:26:59.3
5. Alexey Poltaranin, Kazakhstan, 1:27:9.9
23. Tad Elliott, Durango, CO, 1:30:43.6
25. Matt Gelso, Truckee, CA, 1:31:04.1
DNF: Karl Nygren, Minneapolis, MN
1. Sylwia Jaskowiec, Poland, 42:09.2
2. Astrid Oeyre Slind, Norway, 49:11.0
3. Marte Elden, Norway, 50:00.6
4. Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT, 50:02.7
5. Morgan Arritola, Ketchum, ID, 50:03.5
28. Alexa Turizan, Sun Valley, ID, 52:42.0
1. Ales Razym, Czech Republic
2. Andrey Feller, Russia
3. Daniel Heun, Germany
4. Igor Rysin, Russia
5. Alex Harvey, Canada
17. Simeon Hamilton, Aspen, CO
32. Matt Gelso, Truckee, CA
43. Karl Nygren, Minneapolis, MN
47. Tad Elliott, Durango, CO
1. Nina Rysina, Russia
2. Karianne Bjellaanes, Norway
3. Mari Laukkanen, Finland
4. Kerttu Niskanen, Finlane
5. Denise Herrmann, Germany
12. Morgan Smyth, Vernon, VT
23. Jennie Bender, Johnson, VT
38. Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT
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For complete results click here.