Two in Top 20 at World Championships; Patterson 15th, Schumacher 19th
Two U.S. athletes broke into the top twenty in today's 15km individual skate at the 2023 World Championships, with Scott Patterson in 15th and Gus Schumacher in 19th - a strong result for the young men's team. As Head Coach Matt Whitcomb said post-race, the theme of the day was "vicious skiing" by the men's team.
On a three-lap course of the hilly Slovenian course, it played to the strength of many of the athletes, with working downhills and tactical climbs. With Patterson on the start line were teammates Schumacher, Hunter Wonders and Ben Ogden. With all men having at least one race under their belt of this World Championships and several days of training, the men were ready to compete with the field of 100 other racers, representing over 25+ countries.
Same as for the women’s 10km skate, the entire tech and coaches staff was on course cheering. At nearly every part of the course, you could see a U.S. coaching staff member yelling splits, or simply just cheering them on until they reached the next person.
For the U.S. men, Patterson led the way for the team. Throughout the entire race, Patterson put up great splits through every course marker. All points throughout the race, he was within the top 20, at some points, in the top ten. As with Patterson, all other athletes posted solid splits on the race. In the first 5k, Wonders was top five in the field, showing his strength and speed out of the gate. Schumacher and Ogden held a consistent and strong pace through the 15k, moving around from top 10, top 15 and top 20 through the 15km of the course. Patterson held strong in the top ten until the last 2km where he ran out of gas. Yet, Patterson pushed until the end and walked away on a high note with only 1.33 minutes out from the top, landing him in the top 15. "I would call it a stellar day for our men out there," said Coach Kristin Bourne.
Norway won the day, taking the first four spots. Johannes Hosfløt Klaebo was fourth, Hans Christer Holund third, Harald Oestberg Amundsen second and Simen Hegstad Krueger won the gold. For the U.S. team, Patterson led the way and ended the day in 15th, Schumacher was 19th, Ogden 27th and Hunters 33rd.
"All four guys had moments of really great racing out there, and they all skied really well today," said Chris Grover, the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Program Director.
Now the team resets for the men's 4x10km relay, which features two legs of skate and two legs of classic technique on Friday, March 3.