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Randall, Freeman finish 21st, 22nd in World Cup Opener

World Cup: Beitostoelen

Sat, Nov  21, 2009 - By US Ski Team

BEITOSTOELEN, Norway (Nov. 21) - The U.S. Cross Country Ski Team kicked off the 2010 Olympic season in Norway Saturday with Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) leading the way for the U.S., finishing 21st and 22nd, respectively.

Ronny Andre Hafsaas of Norway won the men's 15K freestyle event, and fellow Norwegian Marit Bjoergen won the women's 10K.

According to U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Head Coach Pete Vordenberg, Saturday's results are on par with what he's expected to see in early season competitions.

"We had a pretty good day. For this time of year, you can't be unhappy with those type of results," Vordenverg said. "I feel like things are going well."

In the women's race Sweden owned the rest of the World Cup podium with Charlotte Kalla taking second and Anna Haag in third.

For Vordenberg, Randall's performance was a breakthrough in skate races for the World Championship silver medalist.

"It's one of her best skate races ever and that's a good sign for her fitness and her progression as a racer," Vordenberg said.

Also racing for the women's U.S. team were U23 Championship bronze medalist Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) who was 48th and Morgan Arritola (Ketchum, ID) who was 71st. Both are relative newcomers to the World Cup competition circuit.

"Liz and Morgan had a not-so-great of a race, but it wasn't bad. I have definitely seen worse for girls in their first World Cup season," Vordenberg said.

On the men's side, Vincent Vittoz of France was second and Finland's Matti Heikkinen was third.

While the performance wasn't exactly what Vordenberg had hoped for from Freeman, he said the race was in line for where Freeman needs to be.

"I don't think it was as good of a race as he could have had today, but it was reasonable for the time of year. His last year is behind him and his legs are working really well," Vordenberg said.

However, Vordenberg feels like Freeman has a chance to prepare himself for important races to come when he competes in Sunday's relay.

For Freeman it will be a great opportunity leading into the first classic race in Kuusamo where he's been in the top five before.

The World Cup in Norway continues Sunday with men's and women's relay races. With only three athletes, the U.S. women will not participate in the race, but the men will.

"Kris Freeman will go first, then Torrin Koos (Leavenworth, WA), Andy Newell (Shaftsburry, VT) and Lars Flora (Anchorage)," Vordenberg said. "It should be the perfect workout for the sprint guys heading into the first World Cup next weekend."

2010 Viessmann FIS Cross Country World Cup
Beitostoelen, Norway - Nov. 21, 2009
Men's 15K/Women's 10K Freestyle

1. Ronny Andre Hafsaas, Norway, 34:42.1
2. Vincent Vittoz, France, 34:42.3
3. Matti Heikkinen, Finland, 34:48.7
4. Petter Northug, Norway, 34:53.8
5. John Anders Gaustad, Norway, 34:55.2
22. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH, 35:32.1
91. Lars Flora, Anchorage, 38:14.9

1. Marit Bjoergen, Norway, 24:48.3
2. Charlotte Kalla, Sweden, 25:18.0
3. Anna Haag, Sweden, 25:25.5
4. Kristin Stoermer Steira, Norway, 25:39.8
5. Vibeke Skofterud, Norway, 25:45.6
21. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, 26:52.1
48. Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT, 27:29.1
71. Morgan Arritola, Ketchum, ID, 28:11.8
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For complete results click here.