ANCHORAGE (Jan. 4) - Two of the winningest skiers in U.S. Ski team history continued to rack up titles Monday at the ConocoPhillips U.S. Cross Country Championships in Anchorage. Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) won her second of the week for 12 career championships taking the women's 10K freestyle race. Veteran Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) picked up his 13th career title with a win in the men's 15K.
Freeman let others set the early pace before moving into the lead. He covered the 15K's in 37:17.6 for a 24.5 second margin over Team CXC's Tad Elliott (Durango, CO) who took silver. APU Nordic Ski Center athlete James Southam (Anchorage) was third, 57.6 seconds behind Freeman.
"That's 13 titles today," said Freeman. "It feels good."
It was especially good for the veteran after battling the flu over the holidays. "I got a stomach flu on Christmas Day and have been rebuilding, trying to get my strength back," he said. "Today was not my best race of the year but it's a sign I'm in good shape.
"It was the first time I've gone hard since my last World Cup in Slovenia so I definitely started out pretty flat. I was actually down in the splits early on, but I got faster and faster as the race went on."
Elliott and Southam battled for the early lead while Freeman hung back before breaking into the lead and holding it to the finish.
"It was great to see Tad Elliott second today and to see some young guys coming up and skiing fast," Freeman added.
Randall took her second straight win of the week with a 10 second victory over Go! Training's Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis), the early leader. The U.S. Ski Team's Liz Stephen (Montpelier, VT) was third.
"It felt good to win today. I knew there were several people who could be in the hunt," said Randall. "We skied two laps of the 5K course. My plan was to start out conservative and have a really strong last few K's. That's worked well for me on the World Cup and it worked well today."
The Championships continue in Anchorage's Kincaid Park on Wednesday with a men's 30K classic technique mass start, and a women's 20K. The event concludes Friday with classic sprints.
While Wednesday's 20K classic is not her specialty, Randall is looking forward to the opportunity. "It's going to be really fun Wednesday with a 20K classic race mass start - getting in there and skiing together. I'm really looking forward to it."
Freeman, meanwhile, looks at Wednesday's 30K as a critical test before next month's Olympics. "It's a 30K classic race which is the one where I screwed up my blood sugar in Rogla," said Freeman, a type 1 diabetic. "So I'm going to try to get my insulin dosing right. I might even stop once during the race to test my blood sugar. It's my last test race before the Olympics so just getting that information is important than the result."
For complete results, click here.
2010 ConocoPhillips U.S. Cross Country Championships
Anchorage - Jan. 4, 2010
Men's 15K Freestyle
1. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH, 37:17.6
2. Tad Elliott, Durango, CO, 37:42.1
3. James Southam, Anchorage, 38:15.2
4. Matt Liebsch, Plymouth, MN, 38:21.1
5. Noah Hoffman, Aspen, CO, 38:37.7
6. Lars Flora, Anchorage, 38:52.1
7. Leif Zimmermann, Bozeman, MT, 38:55.2
8. Chris Cook, Rhinelander, WI, 39:04.0
9. Brian Gregg, Winthrop, WA, 39:06.5
10. Simeon Hamilton, Aspen, CO, 39:22.3
Women's 10K Freestyle
1. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, 28:40.1
2. Caitlin Copmton, Minneapolis, 28:50.5
3. Liz Stephen, Montpelier, VT, 29:03.7
4. Morgan Arritola, Fairfield, ID, 29:26.9
5. Ekaterina Vinogradova, Auburn, CA, 29:31.7
6. Rebecca Dussault, Gunnison, CO, 29:37.9
7. Holly Brooks, Anchorage, 29:57.9
8. Beth Reid, Palo Alto, CA, 30:14.5
9. Nicole DeYong, Ketchum, ID, 30:28.8
10. Taz Mannix, Anchorage, 30:44.8