No Retina
XS Screen (480px)
SM+ Screen
SM Screen (768px)
SM- Screen
MD+ Screen
MD Screen (992px)
MD- Screen
LG+ Screen
LG Screen (1200px)
LG- Screen
XL+ Screen (1600px)

Diggins, Brennan Back Together in Top 10

By Leann Bentley - Stifel U.S. Ski Team
January, 20 2024
jessie diggins
Jessie Diggins leads the sea of athletes on the first lap of the 20k classic in Oberhof, Germany. (NordicFocus)

On the second day of racing in Oberhof, Germany, the historic venue of the 1931 FIS World Ski Championships, Jessie Diggins and Rosie Brennan secured another round of top-10 results in sixth and 10th, respectively, in the challenging 20k classic mass start event.

In contrast to the gloomy conditions witnessed during Friday's sprint, the sun illuminated the Oberhof venue, providing a crisp and fast course for the athletes. The men started the day's races, with 66 competitors taking off onto a six-lap technical and demanding course.

The 20k race presented steep descents leading into technical corners, resulting in minor chaos in the men's race—American Scott Patterson broke a pole but managed to ski back into contention quickly after. Navigating the right track and executing a tactical race became crucial for athletes to keep in the race. Among the U.S. male competitors—Zak Ketterson, JC Schoonmaker, Gus Schumacher, Peter Wolter and Patterson—Ketterson led the team, finishing 40th, closely followed by Schumacher in 44th.

It was Schumacher's first race back since the Tour de Ski was cut short due to sickness. "I felt surprisingly good after sickness," he said. "My muscles feel sharp and my breathing is feeling strong, which I’m super encouraged by. Maybe not quite where I was before it, but that doesn’t feel far off."

In the women's race, the 20k classic differed significantly in terms of weather compared to the previous 20k classic in Davos, Switzerland, where Brennan and Diggins clinched second and third positions on the podium.

Today's race was characterized by pivotal moments, with different leaders emerging nearly every lap. Whether it was a trio of Swedish skiers, Kerttu Nikkanen of Finland, local skier Victoria Carl, or Diggins and Brennan themselves, predicting the leader through the laps was unpredictable. The race was marked by strategic approaches, made evident in the reluctance to lead at various course sections, where the lead pack would often come to a standstill, waiting for someone to take charge.

"Today was really interesting," said Diggins when asked about what her race strategy. "It just seemed like the kind of course that was pretty tricky for people to ski away. My strategy ended up going for the bonus points. But what I'm most proud of today was playing to my strengths, skiing calm, finding my way through when I needed to and hanging tough all the way through to the finish."

As the laps progressed and lap six approached, Diggins and Brennan were in contention for the podium, competing alongside the eventual winner, Frida Karlsson of Sweden, and second place finisher Germany's Katharina Hennig. Despite their efforts falling short of a podium finish, both American skiers secured positions in the top 10, adding critical points to their overall standings. Sophia Laukli continued her strong season with a 28th place finish, while Julia Kern closely followed in 33rd.

Looking ahead to tomorrow's 4x7.5k relay, Diggins maintains her lead in the overall World Cup standings, boasting a 279-point advantage over the second-placed Linn Svahn of Sweden. Rosie Brennan sits the third position, trailing Diggins by 388 points.

Don't miss the excitement of the 4.7x5k team relay tomorrow on, with the women's race starting at 4:50 a.m. ET and the men's race at 7:10 a.m. ET.


4:50 a.m. ET - women's 4x7.5k relay, Oberhof, Germany -
7:10 a.m. ET - men's 4x7.5k relay, Oberhof, Germany -