ANCHORAGE (Jan. 8) - Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) notched her fourth win in as many events at the 2010 Conoco Phillips U.S. Cross Country Championships. Randall took her 14th overall title winning the classic sprint while Tyler Kornfield (Fairbanks, AK) won his first championship on the men’s side as top American.
"It’s definitely exciting," Randall said. "I knew going into this championships that each one of the events could be good for me, so I’m happy to have felt strong through the whole week and finish strong at the end."
Randall said she’s particularly pleased to perform so well in a classic sprint, the style on tap in Vancouver.
"I was looking forward to it, to run my body through a good test, and even after three hard races already this week, I felt really strong out there," Randall said.
"Once I got on the course, I didn’t feel totally switched on," she said. "I felt like it took my body a little bit to wake up. But it was a solid qualifying round, and I wanted to race hard during the heats - to kind of test myself out - and I just felt stronger and stronger as we went."
In conditions Randall described as "perfect for a classic sprint," Laura Valaas (Wentachee, WA) was second for the women, 2.7 seconds back, followed by Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) in third.
Sweden's Erik Soederstroem won the men’s race, but fellow University of Alaska Fairbanks team member Kornfield took the U.S. title just two-tenths back.
"At the time I didn’t really know that I had won [the title], " Kornfield said. “I don’t think it really has sunk in, even now."
While the U.S. Championships are international races, only American athletes are eligible for U.S. titles.
Kornfield took it to heart earlier in the week when he took fourth in the freestyle sprint and someone told him that winner Simeon Hamilton (Aspen, CO) had been fourth two years ago. So he felt similar things might have been in store for him.
"That stuck in the back of my head, and I came through today," Kornfield said.
Kornfield started in the back of the pack but made up ground on a long downhill portion after a logjam on the first hill. He found himself in third heading into the final stretch when he tucked behind Soederstroem and passed Mike Hinckley (Anchorage) just before the finish.
"It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season and hopefully it’s a motivation for this summer," Kornfield said.
The Championships were also the final opportunity for earning USSA National Ranking List points, one of the criteria for the 2010 Olympic Team. The team will be formally nominated on January 19.
Click here for complete results.
2010 ConocoPhillips U.S. Cross Country Championships
Anchorage - Jan. 6, 2010
1. Erik Soederstroem, Sweden, 3:15.8
2. Tyler Kornfield, Fairbanks, AK, +0.2
3. Mike Hinckley, Anchorage, +0.4
4. Reese Hanneman, Fairbanks, AK, +1.9
5. Einar Often, Norway, +6.7
6. Eric Packer, Anchorage, +8.2
7. Michael Sinnott, Sun Valley, ID
8. Lars Flora, Portland, OR
9. Bryan Cook, Marquette, MI
10. Chris Cook, Rhinelander, WI
1. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, 3:26.6
2. Laura Valaas, Wenatchee, WA, +2.7
3. Ida Sargent, Orleans, VT, +5.5
4. Holly Brooks, Anchorage, +8.3
5. Rebecca Dussault, Gunnison, CO, +8.4
6. Katie Ronsse, Anchorage, +28.1
7. Kate Whitcomb, Worthington, MA
8. Lindsay Williams, Hastings, MT
9. Rosie Brennan, Hanover, NH
10. Henna Riikonen-Purtsi, Finland