Diggins Third, Leads Five into Top 20 in Falun
Jessie Diggins wrapped up the FIS Cross Country World Cup season on the podium in third and led an outstanding day for the Davis U.S. Cross Country Team with five athletes finishing in the top 20 Saturday in Falun, Sweden.
“All I really wanted was to end the season feeling like I was able to go out there and fight as hard as I could,” said Diggins, who sat out last weekend’s 30k Holmenkollen Skifestival in Norway after still feeling fatigued from her silver-medal finish in the 30k at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. “(Today) was less about the results and more about having that really great feeling. But of course, it was really special to end the season with a podium.”
In the women’s 10k individual start freestyle, Norway’s Therese Johaug grabbed one final career victory, winning by more than 35 seconds over Sweden’s Jonna Sundling in second. Diggins was just four hundredths of a second behind Sundling in third. Rosie Brennan was eighth, and Julia Kern posted a World Cup career-best distance result, finishing 20th. Caitlin Paterson was 31st, and Rosie Frankowski was 41st.
In the men’s 15k individual start freestyle, Scott Patterson posted a career-best World Cup result in seventh, and Zak Ketterson scored his first career World Cup points in 15th. Adam Martin was 44th, Logan Hanneman 52nd, and Peter Holmes 68th.
“It was a great race where the important factors came together,” Ketterson said. “My body felt solid, skis were really good, and I paced the race pretty well.”
“I am not super surprised, honestly," Ketterson added. "Distance racing was such a big focus during my five years in the NCAA, so I came into the season with a lot of confidence in both distance and sprint racing. It feels really good to score points, and I hope I can do it again soon!”
Norway’s Didrik Toenseth took the 15k victory in 31 minutes, 57 seconds. Sweden’s Calle Halfvarsson was second, and Norway’s Harald Oestberg Amundsen was third.
With the final individual races of the season in the books, Diggins finished second in the overall World Cup standings, Brennan was 14th, and Kern was 20th.
“It was really special to finish second in the overall World Cup,” Diggins said. “That is something that I am very proud of because it represents a lot of hard work and a lot of consistently giving it everything I have every time I raced. That was really special to share with the team, the coaches, and the wax techs. Overall, I’m very happy and satisfied, and proud of the season. I’m definitely still processing it…but for me, it was a season where I came in with very concrete goals about my preparation, both physically, and mentally, for the Olympics - and that was the big target. But to be able to have some World Cup wins, and some World Cup podiums was really just the icing on the cake.”
In the overall World Cup sprint standings, Diggins was fourth, Kern eighth, and Brennan was 12th.
“There were some really strong moments for me throughout the season and my consistency was better than ever,” Brennan said. “That is something I'm really happy about because being on the road for so long has been a challenge for me in the past. We have one last team event tomorrow that should be a great way to close out the World Cup season.”
The World Cup season concludes Sunday with the first-ever mixed team relay and mixed team sprint. The mixed team relay will consist of four 5k freestyle technique laps in the following order: woman/man/man/woman. Each nation will be allowed to enter two teams. Each country may enter two teams for the mixed team sprint, and athletes will each ski a one-lap qualifier (in interval start). The times of both skiers will be cumulated, and the 20 best teams are qualified for the finals.
Sunday’s mixed relay for the Davis U.S. Cross Country Team will consist of Brennan, Ketterson, Scott Patterson, and Diggins.
Mixed Team Realy