Diggins Second in World Cup Overall, Ogden Wins U23 Green Bib To Close Out 2022-23 Season
The 2022-23 World Cup season has come to an end in Lahti, Finland with the 20k classic. It was another historic day for the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team, highlighted by Ben Ogden clinching the U23 Green Bib, Jessie Diggins placing second in the FIS Cross Country World Cup Overall and distance races, Rosie Brennan snagging fourth place in the overall and sixth in the distance and the team finishing in fourth place for the Nations Cup.
31 World Cup races later, the 20k classic wrapped up the 2022-23 season program. In mass start style, a large field for both the men and women took on the four-lap course with technical downhills and long, striding uphills. For the women, Diggins, Julia Kern, Brennan, Hailey Swirbul, Sammy Smith and Novie McCabe were on the start list, while Zak Ketterson, Gus Schumacher, Scott Patterson, Luke Jager and Ogden represented the U.S. men. Final results showed Diggins in 22nd, Brennan in 23rd, McCabe 25th, Swirbul 26th, Kern 38th, Smith 48th. For the men, Ogden was 18th, Ketterson 28th, Jager 33rd, Schumacher 40th and Patterson 50th.
At the finish line, there was triumph: triumph for crossing the finish line and triumph for finishing the last race of the season. As athletes crossed the line, they did something atypical - they stayed around to hug each other, cheer on their teammates, take photos and of course spray champagne. The energy in the finish pen was electric - the season was over and there was so much to celebrate.
The day was highlighted by Diggins clinching second place in the FIS Cross Country Overall standings and second in the overall distance standings. This is Diggins' third year in a row in the top three overall. “I am really proud of that,” said Diggins. “It speaks to the really incredible support from the team - all of the amazing and consistent hard work from our coaches, wax techs and volunteers. I’m just really proud of the year.”
Ogden won the U23 Green Bib for being the best skier under the age of 23 on the World Cup, joining an elite class of past winners and cementing himself as one of the most dominant young forces on the circuit.
Ogden is becoming a household name in the cross country world. As each race passes, there are always stories about how "Benny-O" took it one level higher, pushed the pace that much more or tried something new in the sprints. Winning the U23 Green Bib is a testament to one's consistency and speed in distance, sprint and stage races throughout the entire season. Ogden started dawning the green in Drammen, Norway. Since then, it's been part of his uniform and today, he took it for good.
Ogden walks away from the circuit with one of the finest seasons on record by an American male cross country skier in over 30 years, winning not only the green bib, but taking home eighth place overall in the FIS World Cup overall standings.
Rosie Brennan also had an incredible season, scoring many top-10's and performing consistently in nearly all of the races on the World Cup to be fourth overall. "It's of course bittersweet to be fourth place (overall) but hopefully it can be a reflection of what to do better and come back stronger next year!" said Brennan. "It's been really good to find consistency this year and build off that. Mostly though, I am super psyched to see Ben win the green bib! That's been amazing to watch. We definitely have a strong group of men and women coming up and is so cool to see. It has also been a big motivator to make these good results stick and make it a thing where the U.S. is always competitive!"
As the 2022-23 season ends, it was a year of many highs for the U.S. Cross Country Team. With countless top-10s, several podiums, two World Championships medals, World Cup starts by some of the U.S.'s young stars and skiing in venues across the world. Now, the team will spend one last night in Europe before going home for the first time since November.