LAHTI, Finland (March 7) - Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) led the way for U.S. sprinters in Saturday's World Cup in Lahti, finishing 12th. Petter Northug of Norway won, sprint leader Ola Vigen Hattestad, also of Norway, was second and Nikolay Morilov of Russia took third.
"For Torin, it was a good race. Had things gone more his way, it would have been a pretty different outcome," U.S. Cross Country Coach Patrick Casey said. "He was skiing top six, but ended up getting turned around on a pretty scrappy course."
In the women's race, Petra Majdic of Slovenia increased her sprinting lead to more than 300 points over Pirjo Muranen. Majdic took her sixth sprint win of the season, beating Italy's Arianna Follis and Pirjo Muranen of Finland in second and third respectively.
World Championship silver medalist Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) didn't qualify for the finals, finishing 49th.
"Kikkan is getting over a head cold she came down with after Worlds. She said she had good skis, but didn't have the body to go with the skis today and knew it right off the line," Casey said. "She felt like she had to give it a shot and she gave it a good effort, but her body wasn't responding."
Andy Newell (Shafstbury, VT) was seventh fastest to qualify but did not make it past the quarterfinals. Koos and Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WA) qualified 26th and 30th respectively.
Koos' best finish this season came in a team sprint with Newell, where they finished 4th in Dusseldorf. In 2007 Koos was third in an individual sprint in 2007 in Otepaeae, Estonia.
The cross country action in Lahti continues Sunday with a men's 15K and women's 10K.
"We've got some new faces around here because some of the SuperTour leaders are here and it will be fun to see how those guys do Sunday," Casey said. "It's exciting and it will be a good way to gage how our domestic circuit is developing."
2009 VIESSMANN CROSS COUNTRY FIS WORLD CUP
Lahti, Finland - Mar. 7, 2009
1. Petter Northug, Norway
2. Ola Vigen Hattestad, Norway
3. Nikolay Morilov, Russia
4. Oystein Pettersen, Norway
5. Renato Pasini, Italy
12. Torin Koos, Leavenworth, WA
17. Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT
25. Chris Cook, Rhinelander, WA
1. Petra Majdic, Slovenia
2. Arianna Follis, Italy
3. Pirjo Muranen, Finland
4. Vesna Fabjan, Slovenia
5. Charlotte Kalla, Sweden