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Diggins Fourth, Kern Ninth, Bolger 12th in Trondheim Sprint

By Leann Bentley - Stifel U.S. Ski Team
December, 15 2023
Jessie Diggins
Jessie Diggins skates to fourth place. (NordicFocus)

The Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team started off strong in Trondheim with three Americans in the top-15 in the skate sprint, led by Jessie Diggins in fourth, Julia Kern in ninth and Kevin Bolger in 12th. 

In the debut skate sprint of the year, at the site of the upcoming 2025 FIS World Cross Country Ski Championships, the competition was stacked. With 57 on the startlist for the women and 77 for the men, the last sprint race of period one was set to be exciting. 

On the American side, six athletes advanced to the heats, based on landing in the top 30 in the qualification round. For the women, Kern had the fifth fastest qualification time, with Diggins and Brennan not far behind in 10th and 11th. On the men's side, JC Schoonmaker, coming fresh off his first World Cup podium in the Östersund classic sprint qualified eighth, with Bolger in 13th and Ben Ogden in 18th. 

In the men's quarterfinal heat, Bolger was the only American to advance, winning his heat. For the women, Diggins won her heat and went on to eventually win her semifinal. Kern was second in her quarterfinal, punching her ticket to the semis, but ultimately did not advance through to finals. Brennan, despite a fast quarterfinal heat, did not advance. 

"I was really happy to be out there and have one of my best sprints," said Kern, post-race. "The best part of the day was just getting out there and skiing."

In the final, Diggins was the lone American, alongside Sweden, Germany and Norway. In the finishing stretch of the technical, hilly sprint course, the eventual winner of the day, Kristine Skistad of Norway turned on the gas to out-sprint both Linn Svahn and Emma Ribom of Sweden, who filled the remaining podium positions. At the end of the day, Diggins was just off the podium in fourth, adding another top 10 to her outstanding 2023-24 resume and further solidifying her leading position in the World Cup overall standings. 

The team is back on snow for the 20k skiathlon on Saturday, where they will race 10k in classic skis, switch mid-race, then 10k on skate skis.