DAVOS, Switzerland (Dec. 12) – Two time Olympian Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) finished seventh for a career best in the 15K freestyle Saturday during the World Cup in Switzerland.
"It feels really good. I tried to ski like I did in Kuusamo. I just went out conservatively and was able to really take it in," Freeman said. "I'd like to be able to take a little more, but I'm pretty happy with my fitness right now and it's definitely fun to race like this."
Freeman followed a fourth-place finish in Kuusamo, Finland on Nov. 29 with a seventh on Saturday, just more than 36 seconds behind winner Matti Heikkinen of Finland.
According to Freeman, pacing was the most important thing he could do in the race. The cross country skier wants to continue working on his fitness so that come February, he will have the stamina to do well throughout the entire race.
"I went out the first lap and tried to keep it really controlled because the altitude can catch up with you. I just need to get a little bit more before the Olympics, but I've got time," Freeman said.
Freeman also had some excitement in the day as he raced on new skis that his results.
"It's really cool when they come up with new stuff to race on that's better than all the stuff you've got," Freeman said.
Morgan Arritola (Ketchum, ID) and Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) charged to their best career World Cup results in Davos, giving the U.S. women’s team a shining glimpse of its bright future.
"It was their best race of the year so far. It was a really good race for them to finish the first World Cup period with," Cross Country Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said. "It's been a nice experience and having results that show progress for them is encouraging."
The 23-year-old Arritola took 34th among the women, 2:06.8 back of winner Irina Khazova of Russia – who completed the 10 km course in 26:22.0 – and bettered her 47th-place finish in Valdidentro, Italy, this February.
Not to be outdone, the 22-year-old Stephen was 40th, 2:15.4 back, for a big improvement on her best-to-date 48th result in Beitostoelen, Norway, on Nov. 21. Stephen also was 48th in her World Cup debut in Davos in early 2007.
"They're definitely improving and this race shows that," Vordenberg said. "I am sure they're going to have some good races coming up and the plan is to peak at the Olympics, so that's where we should see our best results from everyone."
2010 Viessmann FIS Cross Country World Cup
Davos, Switzerland - Dec. 12, 2009
Men's 15 km
1. Matti Heikkinen, Finland, 35:54.8
2. Marcus Hellner, Sweden, 36:09.2
3. Maurice Manificat, France, 36:10.7
4. Emmanuel Jonnier, France, 36:24.9
5. Vincent Vittoz, France, 36:25.9
7. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH, 36:31.0
Women's 10 km
1. Irina Khazova, Russia, 26:22.0
2. Charlotte Kalla, Sweden, 26:49.3
3. Kristina Smigun-Vaehi, Estonia, 26:49.8
4. Marit Bjoergen, Norway, 26:52.8
5. Ritta-Liisa Roponen, Finland, 26:56.7
34. Morgan Arritola, Ketchum, ID, 28:28.8
40. Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT, 28:37.4
85. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, AK, 29:19.0