STOCKHOLM, Sweden (March 18) - The U.S. Ski Team's Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) finished ninth during the last sprint World Cup of the 2009 season Wednesday in Stockholm.
"It's good to be back in the top 10," Newell said. "The past two weeks have been a bit of a struggle to get back into good racing form, so I think I'm getting my feet back under me."
Norwegians swept the men's sprint podium with Johan Kjoelstad taking the win, John Kristian Dahl in second and Eldar Roenning in third.
According to Newell, the course in Stockholm presented a challenge to athletes looking to push forward through the rounds.
"It's a really fast course. There's one uphill, a lot of double polling and one final climb. You need to be in contention by the last climb to make it," Newell said.
It was the course features that inevitably put Newell into the B final as opposed to the A final.
"I advanced through the first round pretty easily, then I had a tough semi final heat and unfortunately got in the back and couldn't work my way back up into any of the top positions," Newell said.
Following Newell for the U.S. was Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) who finished 14th.
"Torin and Andy were in the same quarterfinals and he and Andy were racing against each other," U.S. Cross Country Coach Chris Grover said. "For a while we hoped Torin would be a lucky loser but he got knocked out and ended up 14th for the day, which isn't bad, but was obviously really close."
In the women's sprint, Petra Majdic of Slovenia won, followed by Aino Kaisa Saarinen of Finland in second and Anna Olsson of Sweden in third.
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) didn't qualify for finals, finishing 33rd.
The cross country World Cup Finals continue Friday in Falun, Sweden.
2009 VIESSMANN CROSS COUNTRY FIS WORLD CUP
Stockholm, Sweden - March 18, 2009
1. Johan Kjoelstad, Norway
2. John Kristian Dahl, Norway
3. Eldar Roenning, Norway
4. Emil Joensson, Sweden
5. Nikita Kriukov
9. Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT
14. Torin Koos, Leavenworth, WA
62. Chris Cook, Rhinelander, WA
1. Petra Majdic, Slovenia
2. Aino Kaisa Saarinen, Finland
3. Anna Olsson, Sweden
4. Pirjo Muranen, Finland
5. Virpi Kuitunen, Finland
33. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage
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For complete results click here.