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Cross Country

Ogden Seventh in Beitostolen Classic Sprint

By Tom Horrocks
December, 9 2022
Ben Ogden
Ben Ogden (left) chases Richard Jouve of France during Friday's FIS Cross Country World Cup classic sprint in Beitostolen, Norway. (@NordicFocus)

Ben Ogden posted his second top-10 FIS Cross Country World Cup result of the season, finishing seventh in Friday’s classic sprint in Beitostolen, Norway. Julia Kern was the top-placed U.S. woman in 10th.

After posting the seventh-fastest qualifying time, Ogden scorched the field in his quarterfinal heat, hammering the final climb and sprinting to an easy win. In the semifinals though, he got pinched in the last corner and finished third. 

In the finals, Richard Jouve of France skied to his first World Cup win of the season, with Italy’s Simone Mocellini taking his first World Cup podium in second; and Sweden’s Calle Halfvarssen in third. Friday’s result matched Ogden’s career-best seventh-place freestyle sprint finish from last weekend in Lillehammer, Norway.

Kern qualified 17th and came out swinging in the opening heat - finishing second to Swiss Nadine Faehndrich. In the semifinals, Kern was holding onto the second position and charging up the second climb when Faehndrich jumped in front of her - almost stepping on Kern’s skis. 

“I should have taken my own track,” Kern said. “But wasn’t counting on someone trying to make a move outside the track with a V-board there, so it kinda screwed me.”

Kern settled for fifth in the heat, but nonetheless, posted her seventh career World Cup top-10 individual result.

Just three weeks into the season, the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team is settling into life on the road and despite a few athletes battling lingering colds, the team is starting to rack up the results with Jessie Diggins finishing 17th Friday, and Rosie Brennan bouncing back to finish 21st.

“It is really awesome to see the team camaraderie,” Diggins said. “Especially this week…we've had a really great living situation and I think people are just settling into life on the road really well, so that's really cool.”

Diggins qualified seventh, but just missed advancing to the semifinals by 0.08 seconds in the opening heats. “I was pleased with my qualifier,” she said, “but I don't think I skied all that well in the heats. But, I learned a lot of things and I'm excited to put that energy forward into the 10k (classic) tomorrow.”

For Brennan, kicking her cold and blowing out the sprint pipes were just what she needed to prep for Saturday’s 10k classic.

“I was happy with my qualifier after a bad sprint in Ruka and sitting out sick last weekend,” said Brennan, who qualified 12th. “The heats ended up being more technical than I had hoped, and I struggled to find space and the speed I needed to advance. But, I was so happy to be in the heats again and to be reminded of all the little details sprinting requires to put together a good day.”

Faehndrich won the women’s race, with Norway’s Lotta Udnes Weng in second, and Finland’s Johanna Matintalo.

Racing continues in Beitostolen with Saturday’s 10k classic individual start, followed by Sunday’s 4x5k mixed team relay. The U.S., which won the first World Cup mixed team relay last season in Falun, Sweden, will announce the team for Sunday’s race following Saturday’s 10k. Both races will be streamed live with commentary on skiandsnowboard.live

RESULTS
Women’s classic sprint
Men’s classic sprint

HOW TO WATCH
(All times EST)
Saturday
4:00 a.m. - FIS Cross Country World Cup women’s 10k classic individual start - LIVE, SkiandSnowboard.live
6:15 a.m. - FIS Cross Country World Cup men’s 10k classic individual start - LIVE, SkiandSnowboard.live

Sunday
7:00 a.m. - FIS Cross Country World Cup 4x5k mixed team relay - LIVE, SkiandSnowboard.live


 

Diggins Top 10, Schumacher Top 20 in Lillehammer 20k Classic

By Leann Bentley
December, 4 2022
Jessie Diggins
Jessie Diggins leads the pack in the 20k classic race in Lillehammer, Norway. (NordicFocus)
Diggins Ninth in 20k Classic Mass Start

Coming off a victory in the 10k and a fourth in the skate sprint, Jessie Diggins rounds out the Cross Country World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway with a ninth place in today's 20k classic mass start and teammate Gus Schumacher skied a smart race and ended the weekend with a 17th place finish. 

Diggins started the race in the lead pack and promptly finished in the lead pack, only 5.5 seconds back from the winner, Frida Karlsson of Sweden. In typical mass start fashion, it was chaos from the start, as over 57 racers descend onto the 3.3k lap course. "It was pretty clear it was a chaotic day out there, " Diggins said while laughing. "It is the kind of course that keeps things together. There were a number of attempts to break it up, but everyone just kept coming back together on that long winding downhill." 

On the six-lap course, with spectators cheering at every corner, the women skied a fast and technical race. The Americans again had fast skis, evidenced by the lack of slipping on the steep uphills and gliding on the flats and downhills. 

"Overall, I am happy with where my body is at and where my fitness is at, there are always things I want to work on and there are always learning opportunities out there. I definitely took some lessons away from this race that I want to apply forward to the next classic race," said Diggins. 

Teammates Alayna Sonnesyn finished 36th, Sophia Laukli 39th and Julia Kern 44th, all scoring World Cup points for their top 50 finishes. 

Schumacher Top 20 in Lillehammer

Gus Schumacher had a great day on the course, skiing with the pack and finishing in 17th place. Throughout the laps, Schumacher steadily chipped away and had energy until he crossed the line. 

"It's been a while since I was stringing together good races, so to be getting better and better every time I put a bib on is huge for me," said Gus Schumacher. "Today in particular was a chaotic race, with no big operating features on the course, so the pack stayed together the whole race. Even so, the feeling of being able to be proactive closer to the front and reactive near the back was a good feeling and is a product of feeling good and having good skis. So, I'm stoked about it!"

Schumacher was only 6.6 seconds behind the winner, Paal Goldberg of Norway. Teammates Hunter Wonders was 31st, Zak Ketterson 26th, and Ben Ogden 46th, all scoring World Cup Points. Scott Patterson was 57th. 

The next set of races will be in Beitostolen, Norway where the team will race a classic sprint, a 10k classic and a 4.5k classic/freestyle team sprint. 

RESULTS 

Women's 20k Classic

Men's 20k Classic

Four Americans In Top 10 In Lillehammer Sprint

By Tom Horrocks
December, 3 2022
Ben Ogden
Ben Ogden posted a World Cup career-best result, finishing seventh in Saturday's freestyle sprint in Lillehammer, Norway. (@NordicFocus)

Jessie Diggins finished fourth to lead four U.S. Ski Team athletes into the top 10 in the FIS Cross Country World Cup freestyle sprint in Lillehammer, Norway, on Saturday. Ben Ogden posted a career-best World Cup result, finishing seventh, and Julia Kern and JC Schoonmaker each finished eighth. 

“We had some awesome skis out there,” Diggins said, once again praising the effort of the U.S. service techs. “It was so cool seeing the U.S. Team as a whole having such a great day.”

Diggins posted the fifth-fastest qualifying time and advanced to the finals after finishing second in the opening quarterfinal heat. She then advanced as the Lucky Loser in the semifinal heat. 

Kern was 20th in qualifying and came out swinging when she skied away from the field to take the opening-round win in the fifth heat. In the semifinals, Kern was locked in on the second Lucky Loser position, only to watch it slip away when Norway’s Lotta Udnes Weng crashed in front of her in the closing 200 meters. 

“I was able to react pretty quickly and get around her,“ Kern said. “And I felt really strong coming into the finish, but that little blip and hiccup cost me. But that’s sprint racing.”

In the finals, Diggins was well-positioned on the first of two laps, but racing up the final climb into the finish, the Swedish duo of Emma Ribom and Maja Dahlquist put the hammer down and finished 1-2 with Norway’s Tiril Udnes Weng in third.

“I had the skis, I just didn’t have the gas and the sharp race form feeling in that final, but that’s OK. I’m really happy with the day and the performance,” Diggins said. 

In an impressive showing for the young U.S. men’s team, three qualified for the heats, including Ogden, Schoonmaker, and Luke Jager, who posted a career-best World Cup freestyle sprint result, finishing 25th.

“Ben and JC and Luke, they skied so well,” Diggins added. “I was really, really impressed. They were (so close) to getting into the final too. It was cool to feel that energy as a team out there today.”

Ogden and Schoonmaker, who qualified 20th and 24th respectively, each won their opening quarterfinal heats to advance. Racing in the second semifinal heat, both were in the mix heading in the final 200 meters but came up short with overall World Cup leader Paal Goldberg of Norway leading countryman Ansger Evensen across the line to finish 1-2. 

In the men’s finals, Norway’s Johannes Kleabo put on another sprint show, skiing to his 55th World Cup victory. Italy’s Frederico Pellegrino was second, and Norway’s Evan Northug was third.

World Cup racing wraps up Sunday in Lillehammer with a 20k classic mass start.

RESULTS
Women’s freestyle sprint
Men’s freestyle sprint

 

Diggins Wins in Lillehammer

By Leann Bentley
December, 2 2022
Jessie Diggins
Jessie Diggins wins the 10k skate at the FIS Cross Country World Cup in Lillehammer, NOR. (@NordicFocus)

Jessie Diggins skied to her 13th individual World Cup win - tying her former teammate Kikkan Randall for the most U.S. World Cup Cross Country victories - in Friday's opening 10k individual start in Lillehammer, Norway.

"First and foremost, I want to say thanks to the wax techs and the team. I am really proud of their effort because my skis were so awesome out there," said Jessie Diggins in a post-race reflection. "I went into the race with the plan of trying to ski really smooth, pace it evenly, work the transitions and the corners and push hard into the downhills and maximize every second that I could." 

On a fast, 3.3k loop course lined by numerous American fans, fast skis, high tempo, and quick transitions made all the difference for Diggins. Germany's Katharina Hennig was sitting comfortably in the hot seat until Diggins skied through every time check with positive splits. Hennig held on for second, 3.8 seconds back, with Heidi Weng of Norway rounding out the podium in third. 

"My fitness and brain were in a really good place and today I felt like when I asked my body to go deep into the pain cave, it responded," said Diggins. 

Julia Kern and Sophia Laukli also posted top 30 results, finishing 25th and 29th respectively. Alayna Sonnesyn was 32nd, and Lauren Jortberg was 48th in her first World Cup distance race.

With the win, Diggins has racked up 250 World Cup starts, 41 podiums and 15 overall World Cup wins, including a U.S. Team Sprint win in Quebec in 2012, and a Mixed Team victory in Falun, Sweden, last season.

In the men's 10k, Zak Ketterson led the U.S. Ski Team, finishing 26th. Gus Schumacher was 32nd, Scott Patterson 40th, Hunter Wonders was 45th, and Ben Ogden was 56th.

"The fans were pretty fun," Ketterson said. "I actually noticed the cheering the most while I was skiing around the course on my warmup. Tons of American and Norwegian fans cheering for me and asking me silly questions. Can always rely on Norway to provide an awesome World Cup experience."

Racing continues in Lillehammer Saturday with a freestyle sprint, followed by a 20k classic mass start on Sunday. All events are streamed LIVE on skiandsnowboardlive.com.

RESULTS
Women's 10k freestyle individual start
Men's 10k freestyle individual start
 

Recap of U.S. Cross Country World Cup Debut in Ruka

By Leann Bentley
November, 26 2022
Ben Ogden
U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athlete Ben Ogden racing in the individual sprint heats in Ruka, FIN. (Modica/NordicFocus)

The U.S. Cross Country Ski Team is in Ruka, Finland for the first World Cup of the season, racing in three different races; classic sprint, 10k classic and 20k skate. Men and women all raced equal distance, which marks the first time equal distance has been implemented on the World Cup stage.

Classic Sprint

On Friday, Nov., 25, eleven athletes started the sprint race on the fast and quick course in Ruka. Julia Kern led the women's team with a personal record (PR) in a World Cup sprint, finishing in 11th place with teammate Jessie Diggins finishing top 30 in the stacked women's field. On the men's side, JC Schoonmaker had a stellar start to the season in 19th and Ben Ogden rounds out the top 30 finishing in 22nd. Norwegian star, Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo started off the season with a sprint podium for the men and Emma Ribom from Sweden was atop the sprint podium for the women. 

"It was really great to get the processes back in action," says Diggins. "I didn't have any big expectations in terms of results, I just had big expectations in terms of my process, technique focus and mental game. I was focused on dialing in all the things I could control and I was happy with how it's going so far!"

Results

Women's Sprint

Men's Sprint

10k Classic

On Saturday, Nov., 26, Rosie Brennan had a great day finishing in seventh, only 29 seconds back from the leader in the 10k classic. A two-time Olympian, Brennan is off to a great start in the first World Cup of the season. For the men, summer training is looking like it paid off, as Ben Ogden skied very well into a top-30 finish in 28th place with several teammates close behind, including Zak Ketterson who had his best classic World Cup start finishing the day in 31st. With one more race of the weekend to go, both men's and women's teams are looking strong, healthy and excited for more. 

"I am very happy with today's race. It felt really good to be able to turn around after a disappointing day yesterday," says Brennan. "I was able to find a good rhythm and strong skiing today and that is all I can ask for in my first race weekend of the year. I am pleased with some of the technical improvements I have made over the summer and am hopeful to have stronger classic races this season. I am really looking forward to tomorrow. It feels like a big opportunity with a new distance and I am excited to see what happens!"

For the podium on the men's side, Norway's Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo snags another first place and Ebba Andersson from Sweden is the winner for the women's 10k classic. 

Results 

Women's 10k Classic

Men's 10k Classic

 

20k Skate Pursuit 

What a weekend in Ruka! Today was the 20k skate pursuit on the hard, technical and hilly course in Finland. Both men and women raced the same distance and the Americans had solid races all around on the six-lap course. 

Leading the charge for the women was Rosie Brennan, followed closely by Jessie Diggins. Brennan and Diggins stuck with the chaser pack for the majority of the race chasing down Frida Karlsson and Ebba Anderson from Sweden. Brennan pushed it right at the end and had a photo finish, ultimately landing in sixth place. Diggins was right there in top ten and crossed the line in tenth, which rounds out her personal best results in Ruka. Novie McCabe scored her first World Cup points of the season after finishing in 25th place and a trio of her teammates, Alayna Sonnesyn, Sophia Laukli and Julia Kern finished together, immediately embracing in a hug the second after crossing the finish line. 

For the men, Scott Patterson was first on the team and in the mix the entire race, finishing in 14th place - his best result in Ruka to date. A great start to the World Cup for Patterson, who has shown what it takes to be in the top! The pack was fast, as were the skis. Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR) won again, but the American men held their own and worked together with the various chaser packs and had great races all around. Hunter Wonders had another fast day and skied to a 30th place in the 20k pursuit, with many of his teammates close behind, including Zak Ketterson, Gus Schumacher and Ben Ogden. 

Results

Women's 20k Skate Pursuit

Men's 20k Skate Pursuit