Huge Day for USA as Diggins Wins Cogne Sprint
It was a huge day for the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team as Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) won Saturday’s FIS Cross Country World Cup sprint to lead six U.S. women into the top 30 in Cogne, Italy. Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo.) finished fourth to lead four U.S. men into the top 30.
Diggins advanced through the quarterfinal and the semi-final heats in the lucky loser position to advance to the finals. “Man I’m glad they do lucky loser. Honestly, there have been lots of ups and downs this year, you don’t know what going to happen, but you have to believe in yourself and keep pushing the whole way.”
Three U.S. athletes qualified for the finals including Hamilton, and Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.), who finishing in fifth.
“I was really thrilled to have finished fifth today,” said Bjornsen. “After a long camp of solid training in Davos, (Switzerland) it feels good to know my plan to ‘focus my top form on the Championships’ is working out. Any time I make a sprint final means I’m in a place to fight for the podium. A few more days of sharpening up and a mind that is ready to dig even deeper is exactly what I was dreaming of for this time of year.”
Julia Kern (Waltham, Mass.) posted a career-best World Cup result finishing 11th, followed by Sophie Caldwell (Stratton Mountain, Vt.) in 17th; Ida Sargent (Craftsbury, Vt.) 24th; Rosie Brennan (Anchorage, Alaska) 27th; and Kelsey Phinney (Boulder, Colo.) in 33rd. Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vt.) was 23rd; Logan Henneman (Fairbanks, Alaska) 27th; and Kevin Bolger (Sun Valley, Idaho) 30th.
“Crazy racing out there today,” said Hamilton. “I think people expected less clustered racing because the course was quite hard and at altitude, but there was for sure some wild heats where the pack was just in constant contact with each other. The final was tough… it’s always tricky coming from the second semifinal with such a short turnaround into the finals, but I’m proud of how I skied it and although fourth is a frustrating place to be, I think it’s a good sign leading into World Champs.”
Italian local Federico Pellegrino won the men’s race, followed by fellow countryman Francesco De Fabiani in second and Lucas Chanavat of France in third. Germany’s Sandra Ringwald was second behind Diggins, followed by Sweden’s Johanna Hagstroem in third.
The team has one final classic distance race in Cogne before heading to the World Championships in Seefeld, Austria, Monday.
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Sunday, Feb. 17
3:45 a.m. - Women’s classic 10k - Cogne, ITA - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
6:30 a.m. - Men’s classic 15k - Cogne, ITA - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
9:15 a.m. - Women’s SuperTour freestyle interval start - Minneapolis, Minn. - U.S. Ski & Snowboard Streaming
11:00 a.m. - Men’s SuperTour freestyle interval start - Minneapolis, Minn. - U.S. Ski & Snowboard Streaming
2:00 p.m. - Women’s classic 10k - Cogne, ITA - Olympic Channel-TV*