|Freeman, Wagner Collect Second US National Golds|
RUMFORD, ME. (Jan. 7) For the second time this week the Freeman brothers have finished 1-2 in a national cross-country title race. Olympian Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) who won the 30-km classic technique race which opened the Chevy Truck U.S. Cross Country Championships edged older brother Justin (also Andover) Tuesday in a 10-km classic race at while Wendy Wagner (Park City, UT) also collected her second gold medal in the women's 5-km.
Freeman, 22, took the lead early and kept building, finishing with a victorious time of 25:06.6 with his brother, 26, who graduated from Maine's Bates College, silver medalist in 25:48.9. Third place, another five seconds back, went to Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI), a former world Junior Championships and Northern Michigan U. racer.
Wagner, who won Saturday's 15-km CL title race at Black Mountain in a snowstorm, captured the 5-km with a 14:28.9 clocking. Nearly a half-minute back, Canadian Daria Gaiazova was second and Norwegian Sigrid Aas, a University of Alaska Fairbanks student, was bronze medalist.
The older Freeman skied first, running 32nd in the field of 170 men. His brother, starting six minutes later, started at a strong pace and knowing what he needed to do for the lead didn't slow until he'd beaten his brother.
"I'm happy he could be second," Kris said.
"I skied a solid first lap and didn't speed up so much as the others dropped off. I skied under control to start and kept up the pace" in the 17-degree weather that kept the course hard and the waxing pretty much straight-forward with no changing conditions.
Justin, who narrowly missed a chance for the 1999 World Championships Team when the Chevy Truck championships last were held in Rumford, all but clinched a place on this year's team with his silver-medal finish.
"My skis were a little slow. But the way Kris is skiing, you've gotta have everything working for you."
The temperature has gone up a few degrees when the field of 147 skied, but it was plenty cold and the snow conditions remained fast. Wagner, who followed her 15-km victory with a bronze-medal result Monday in the 5-km free technique race, said her race plan was to turn-up the heat at the start and ski as fast as she could for as long as she could.
"I felt good. I went out hard and put the hammer down from the get-go. I wasn't taking any chances," she said after earning her third U.S. title. As another form of insurance, Wagner said, "I put on long underwear just before the start; I didn't [Monday] and it zapped me at the end
"This course was wonderful; it skied so well. The conditions were great and the people along the course were so enthusiastic; I think they must've been jumping between sections on the course," she said, "because it seemed there was somebody on every corner."
U.S. Head Coach Trond Nystad, who is using the U.S. championships to fill out a couple of remaining spots on the World Championships Team which will race next month in Val di Fiemme, Italy, said he's pleased with what he's seen in three days of racing.
"Clearly we've been seeing some good racing," he said. "It's good to see new people, and some of the younger people, who are stepping it up Justin, Dave Chamberlain [Bethel, ME], Lars Flora [Anchorage, AK], certainly Sarah Konrad [Laramie, WY] and it's good to have results from races earlier in the season confirmed here Erin Whitmer [University of Alaska Fairbanks racer and silver medalist in the 15-km] and Chris Cook, who's always been a good talent.
"The conditions have been great," Nystad added. "The organizing committee has done such a good job and the service has been so good. I'm very pleased."
The skating sprints are set for Thursday at Black Mountain. The nationals conclude Sunday and the World Championships Team, with a minimum of five men and five women, will be named next week. The World Junior Championships Team is expected to be announced at week's end, well before the women's 30-km and men's 50-km races Sunday."
CHEVY TRUCK U.S. CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Rumford, ME Jan. 7
1. Kris Freeman, Andover, NH, 25:06.6
2. Justin Freeman, Andover, NH, 25:48.9
3. Chris Cook, Rhinelander, WI, 25:53.5
4. Dave Chamberlain, Bethel, ME, 25:58.2
5. Carl Swenson, Boulder, CO, 26:09.9
6. Andrew Johnson, Greensboro, VT, 26:22.4
7. Lars Flora, Anchorage, AK, 26:23.5
8. Pat Weaver, Bend, OR, 26:45.5
9. Amund Hansen, Norway, 26:48.5
10. Norbert Pelc, Czech Republic, 26:51.9
1. Wendy Wagner, Park City, UT, 14:28.9
2. Daria Gaiazova, Canada, 14:54.6
3. Sigrid Aas, Norway, 15:03.5
4. Lindsey Weier, Mahtomedi, MN, 15:07.8
5. Katja Ivanova, Jericho, Vt., 15:12.1
6. Aelin Peterson, Fairbanks, AK, 15:16.8
7. Melissa Oram, Taberg, NY, 15:17.9
8. Martina Stursova, Czech Republic, 15:20.8
9. Alison Crocker, Poughkeepsie, NY, 15:23.7
10. Jenny Wissting, Sweden, 15:24.7
For complete results, visit www.chisholmskiclub.org
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