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Bjornsen-Hoffman Claim U.S. Distance Titles

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (March 29) – U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athletes Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) and Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) both capped their respective seasons Friday with U.S. distance titles to wrap up the 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships. Hoffman battled with Finnish skier Aku Nikander (University of New Mexico) throughout the men’s 50k classic, where Nikander took the win but the title went to the top U.S. athlete. Bjornsen teamed up with Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) to lead the women’s 30k and emerged with the victory and distance title.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athletes Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) and Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) both capped their respective seasons Friday with U.S. distance titles to wrap up the 2014 U.S. Cross County Championships.
  • Hoffman battled with Finnish skier Aku Nikander (University of New Mexico) throughout the men’s 50k classic, repeatedly trading off the lead on the challenging 10k Spencer Loop course. Nikander eventually took the win but the title went to the top U.S. athlete.
  • It was the second title for Hoffman at 2014 U.S. Championships after his win in the 15k freestyle race last Saturday.
  • Reese Hanneman (APU Nordic; Fairbanks, AK) took the third spot on the podium while Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) skied into sixth and Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) seventh.
  • Bjornsen teamed up with Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) to lead the women’s 30k ahead of Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN). Bjornsen led throughout out the downhill and flat sections while Stephen led the pace on the tough uphill sections.
  • In the end Bjornsen emerged with the victory and distance title with Stephen second, Randall third, Diggins fourth and Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) fifth. Rookie Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) finished sixth to cap an incredible first season with the U.S. Ski Team.
  • It was Bjornsen’s third career title after winning the skate sprint and 20k classic at U.S. Nationals in Midway, UT in 2013.
  • Friday’s event took place on the APU Nordic training site, which meant a hometown advantage for Bjornsen, Randall, Hanneman and other APU athletes.
  • The 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships mark the end of the competitive season for the athletes, who return home for a break before beginning the training cycle again this summer.

QUOTES
Noah Hoffman
I didn’t really know anything about Aku, I didn’t even know his name. He’s a good skier. I didn’t like my chances coming into the final stretch, but part of me was just glad to be with him. I did try a little bit over the final hills, but I just didn’t have a chance getting away from him.

He was better than me double poling all day. I was struggling and it’s been a long season and he was impressive and I’m glad to be done.

Sadie Bjornsen
This is probably one that I’m going to remember most for the season, this and Holmenkollen, because I feel like it’s the hardest race. Since joining APU I’ve realized I may be more of a distance skier than a sprinter and, you know, I prefer that. I always want to sprint, but distance skiing is so fun for me.

We were just pushing so hard out there, making sure nobody was catching us. You always go into this race, the last race of the season like, ‘Oh, I hope we don’t go as hard as we can the whole time because I’m so tired,’ but when it comes down to it, it’s always more fun to do that anyway.

Liz Stephen
I was secretly hoping Sadie was going to win this race. I had a feeling a few days ago this was going to be her day.

Kikkan Randall
I certainly felt like today the caliber is the highest it’s ever been for one of these races. I know these guys can ski really well on the Word Cup so it’s like, you know you’ve got to bring you’re A-game on a day like this.

RESULTS
Official Results
(scroll down for men’s and women’s results)

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Sat, 29 Mar 2014 23:36:37 +0000

Jerome Fifth in Large Hill Finale

PLANICA, Slovenia (March 22) – Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) jumped into the top five Saturday, taking advantage of the second large hill competition of the year and making a statement at the final World Cup of the 2014 season. Jerome soared to 117 and 124 meters, scoring 232 points behind the day’s winner and World Cup champion Sara Takanashi of Japan. Jerome finished the season 10th in the season-long World Cup standings, her third consecutive season ranked in the top 10 in the world.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) jumped into fifth Saturday, taking advantage of the second large hill competition of the year and making a statement at the final World Cup of the 2014 season.
  • Jerome landed 117 and 124-meter jumps, scoring an impressive 232 points.
  • She finished the season 10th in the season-long World Cup standings, her third consecutive season ranked in the top 10 in the world.
  • World Cup champion Sara Takanashi of Japan was the day’s winner, while Japanese teammate Yuki Ito occupied the second spot on the podium with Julia Clair of France third.
  • Takanashi claimed the overall title with 1720 points, a full 914 points ahead of Olympic champion Carina Vogt of Germany in second. Yuki Ito finished third on the season.

RESULTS
Official Results

STANDINGS
Official World Cup Standings

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Sat, 22 Mar 2014 17:07:12 +0000

Randall Tops for USA to Close Season

FALUN, Sweden (March 16) – World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) skied into 13th Sunday in the 10k freestyle pursuit, closing the three-day Falun mini-tour and putting a stamp on another successful World Cup season. In addition to her third-straight World Cup sprint title, Randall finished sixth in the overall standings behind overall champion Therese Johaug of Norway, who also won Sunday’s pursuit. Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) topped for the USA in the men’s 15k pursuit, where Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby skied away with the victory as well as both the distance and overall World Cup titles.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) skied into 13th Sunday in the 10k freestyle pursuit, closing the three-day Falun mini-tour and putting a stamp on another successful World Cup season.
  • In addition to winning her third-straight World Cup sprint title last week, Randall took sixth in the overall standings.
  • Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) also put forth a strong effort in the Falun mini-tour, where her 17th-place finish helped her reach the top 15 in the overall distance standings.
  • World Champion Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) ended her season ranked 20th overall, posting 21st in distance and 23rd in sprint. She finished Sunday’s race 36th.
  • Rookie Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) climbed to an impressive eighth in the sprint standings during her first year on the U.S. Cross Country Team, which put her into 23rd overall.
  • Overall World Cup champion Therese Johaug of Norway took the victory during Sunday’s pursuit and was joined on the podium by teammates Marit Bjoergen and Heidi Weng. Johaug, Bjoergen and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen also managed a Norwegian podium sweep in World Cup overall standings.
  • Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) led the USA in the men’s 15k pursuit Sunday, as well as pulled out the best U.S. result in the distance standings with 28th.
  • Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby skied away with the 15k victory as well as both the distance and overall World Cup titles. Russia’s Alexander Legkov ended his season ranked second overall after a third-place finish in Falun, while Canadian Alex Harvey took second in Falun and third in the overall standings.

QUOTES
Kikkan Randall
I really feel like I left it out there today. I had a chance to catch up to 10th place but unfortunately face-planted with 500m to go. I definitely skied a hard race.

It feels really good to wrap up the World Cup season. I didn't accomplish all the goals I set, but I gave it my best effort and that's what matters most to me. I’m feeling fired up to improve for next year!

RESULTS
Official Men’s Results
Official Women’s Results

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Sun, 16 Mar 2014 18:37:12 +0000

Wind Cancels Jumping in Falun

FALUN, Sweden (March 16) – Strong wind gusts on the jump hill created impossible conditions for the nordic combined and ski jumping athletes Sunday, forcing officials to cancel the final nordic combined World Cup of the season. A women’s normal hill jumping competition was also canceled earlier in the day. Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) now heads with the women to jump on the large hill in Planica, Slovenia for the final competition of the season.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Strong wind gusts on the jump hill created impossible conditions for the nordic combined and ski jumping athletes Sunday, forcing officials to cancel the final nordic combined World Cup of the season. The event will not be rescheduled.
  • A women’s normal hill jumping competition was also canceled earlier in the day.
  • Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) now heads with the women to jump on the large hill in Planica, Slovenia for the final World Cup of the season.

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Sun, 16 Mar 2014 17:14:10 +0000

Jerome Soars to Eighth in Falun

FALUN, Sweden (March 15) – Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) jumped into eighth during the women’s normal hill competition Saturday at the site of the 2015 Falun FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Jerome’s two jumps were good enough to put her in the top ten behind winner Sara Takanashi of Japan. The women head up to the hill Sunday for another World Cup before heading to Planica, Slovenia for the final jump of the season.

HIGHLIGHTS  

  • Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) jumped into eighth during the women’s normal hill competition Saturday at the site of the 2015 Falun FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.
  • Jerome’s jumped 84.5 and 87 meters with a combined score of 201.5, which was good enough for the top ten.
  • World Cup champion Sara Takanashi and teammate Yuki Ito went one-two for Japan followed by Julia Kykkaenen of Finland in third.
  • Strong wind forced a lengthy delay to the night event, but they later died down and allowed the athletes to complete both rounds of jumping.
  • The women head up to the hill Sunday for another World Cup before heading to Planica, Slovenia for a large hill jump to wrap up the season.

RESULTS
Official Results

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Sat, 15 Mar 2014 19:36:16 +0000

Fletcher Leads USA in Falun

FALUN, Sweden (March 15) – Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) skied another impressive cross country race Saturday to finish 11th and lead for the USA in the Falun 10k Gundersen, the final individual nordic combined event of the season. Fletcher jumped into 24th and then put down a solid race effort to finish 11th behind winner Akito Watabe of Japan. The final nordic combined World Cup is set for Sunday, when the athletes will compete in a team event on the 2015 Falun FIS Nordic World Ski Championships venue.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) skied another impressive cross country race Saturday to finish 11th and lead for the USA in the final individual nordic combined event of the season.
  • Fletcher jumped into 24th and then put down a solid race effort to finish 11th.
  • Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) finished 28th after his jump put him in 44th at the start of the cross country 10k.
  • Akito Watabe of Japan took the win with Joergen Graabak of Norway second and Alessandro Pittin of Italy third.
  • The weekend serves as both World Cup finals as well as a test event for the 2015 Falun FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Nordic combined, cross country and ski jumping athletes have all come together this weekend to give the venue a solid test run.
  • The final nordic combined World Cup is set for Sunday, when the athletes will compete in one last team event.

RESULTS
Official Results

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Sat, 15 Mar 2014 18:49:19 +0000

Strong Skiathlon for Liz Stephen

FALUN, Sweden (March 15) - Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT) skied a strong freestyle leg to lead the USA at 15th in the Falun mini-tour skiathlon. Stephen moved up from 37th after the 7.5k classic with a strong 7.5k freestyle leg. Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) was 20th, Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) 21st. Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) was 18th. Norway's Therese Johaug took a 33 second win over teammate Marit Bjoergen while Canada's Alex Harvey won for the men. The World Cup season wraps up Sunday in Falun, site of the 2015 World Championships, with a men's 15k and women's 10k freestyle pursuit.

HIGHLIGHT

  • Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT) skied a strong freestyle leg to lead the USA in 15th at the Falun mini-tour skiathlon.
  • Stephen moved up from 37th in the classic leg.
  • Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) had a strong day from start to finish, ending up 18th.
  • Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) was 20th with Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) 21st as Norway's Therese Johaug took the win.
  • One of the highlights of the day was the classic performand of Bjornsen, who was ninth at the exchange.
  • Rain overnight and new snow made conditions challenging.
  • The World Cup season wraps up Sunday with a men's 15k and women's 10k at the site of the 2015 World Championships.

QUOTES
Liz Stephen

It is nice to be in Falun with the sun and, though there is no snow anywhere but the race course, it's great skiing! We are all looking forward to ending our hotel room stays for the year. I certainly am ready to be in a home again, but I am not totally exhausted physically like I have been other years here, so that feels good.

It was so fun to celebrate Kikkan's globe with her I am so proud and happy for her.  She has earned every step she has taken forward in this sport and it is so fun to watch her achieve such success.  She has been such a strong force in US skiing and bringing our team to where we are today, so I couldn't be more happy for what she has achieved and to be her teammate and friend.

Chris Grover, Cross Country Head Coach
Solid day out there for Liz, Kikkan, Sadie, and Noah in particular. We had changing conditions over night with rain and new snow and colder temperatures that we have seen since January this morning. The service team did an excellent job of making great skis and that kept our athletes in the hunt. Sadie had a stand-out classic race and Liz had one of the fastest skate legs of the day. Noah was strong all day and very patient in the execution of his race strategy. He climbed up the rankings from start to finish. The final day of the Tour and World Cup Finals has always been an excellent day for the USA so look for many of our men and women to move up in the ranks. 

RESULTS
Men's Results 
Women's Results


Sat, 15 Mar 2014 13:39:39 +0000

Randall Sprints to 4th in Falun Opener

FALUN, Sweden (March 14) – Newly crowned World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) led the USA on Friday with a fourth-place finish in the classic sprint, the final World Cup sprint of the season as well as the opening of the three-day Stage World Cup mini-tour finale in Falun. Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) skied to sixth in the women’s final, while Norway’s Marit Bjoergen took the victory. Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) advanced to the semis in the men’s sprint, finishing eighth and narrowly missing the final where Teodor Peterson led a Swedish sweep. The athletes are set to take on the men’s and women’s skiathlon Saturday.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Newly crowned World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) led the USA on Friday with a fourth-place finish in the final World Cup sprint of the season, which was also the opening event of the three-day Stage World Cup mini-tour in Falun.
  • Randall received her crystal globe after Friday’s classic sprint finale, commemorating her third-straight World Cup sprint title victory that she clinched last week in Drammen, Norway.
  • The result put Randall one point behind Heidi Weng of Norway in the World Cup overall standings going into the final two races of the season in Falun.
  • Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) also advanced to the women’s final, where she skied to sixth.
  • Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) and Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) qualified for the women’s sprints, finishing 13th and 20th respectively.
  • Norway’s Marit Bjoergen took the victory for the women and won a 30-second advantage going into the second stage of the mini-tour. Bjoergen’s victory also secured her the third spot in the overall World Cup sprint standings.
  • Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg of Norway and Stina Nilsson of Sweden took second and third in the women’s final.
  • Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) was the sole U.S. athlete to qualify for the men’s sprint. He finished eighth, just missing the top-six final.
  • Teodor Peterson led a Swedish sweep with teammates Emil Joensson and Calle Halfvarsson. Peterson was also awarded the 30-second bonus and leads the mini-tour with Bjoergen.
  • The weekend’s mini-tour serves as both World Cup finals as well as a test event for the 2015 Falun FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.
  • The athletes return to competition Saturday for the men’s 15k freestyle/15k classic skiathlon and women’s 7.5k freestyle/7.5k classic skiathlon.  

QUOTES
Kikkan Randall
It was really fun to be back in the final with Sophie! It was a really good feeling to see two American flags on the scoreboard as we headed to the start. Once in the final, anything can happen!  

It was also really fun to test out the brand new sprint course here in Falun, which will be used for the World Championships next year. The course was in great shape, the tracks stayed firm from the salt and the snow really held up through the day. My skis were excellent again today, solid grip on the hills and some of the better glide in the second half of the course.

We received the sprint globes today and it's still a very special feeling to feel the weight of that crystal in your hand. A bunch of my teammates and all the staff were out there to celebrate the ceremony with me. The support I feel from everyone has made every globe so special. The U.S. program is definitely coming up and I am confident that there are many more globes possible for this team.

Sophie Caldwell
Unfortunately Sadie, Kikkan, and I were in the same quarterfinals and that's always tough because only two people move on. We were hoping to have a fast heat and be the top three so one of us could be lucky loser. We accomplished being the top three in our heat, but it wasn't quite fast enough to get the lucky loser spot so Sadie didn't advance.

Today was the first time I had ever made it past the quarter finals in a classic sprint, so I was thrilled with how the day turned out. Of course, it makes it even better to be in the final with your teammate and it was extra cool to watch Kikkan receive her third consecutive crystal globe right after our race. 

RESULTS
Official Men’s Results
Official Women’s Results

STANDINGS
Men’s World Cup Standings
Women’s World Cup Standings

LINKS
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Fri, 14 Mar 2014 16:33:33 +0000

Randall 12th in Oslo 30k

OSLO, Norway (March 9) – World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) put forth a solid race effort Sunday, earning a career-best 12th in the 30k classic World Cup at Holmenkollen. Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) also posted a career-best 30k result in 14th. Norwegian Marit Bjoergen sped to victory with an astounding one minute, 41-second lead over second-place finisher Therese Johaug of Norway. Next, the cross country athletes head to World Cup Finals in Falun beginning Friday Mar. 14 with classic sprints.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) put forth a solid race effort Sunday, earning a career-best 12th in the 30k classic World Cup at Holmenkollen.
  • Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) also posted a career-best 30k result in 14th, while Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT), Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) and Caitlin Gregg (Minneapolis, MN) went 32nd, 35th and 39th respectively.
  • Norwegian Marit Bjoergen sped to victory with an astounding one minute, 41-second lead over second-place finisher Therese Johaug of Norway. It was Bjoergen’s 100th career World Cup podium and the fourth time she has won at her home Holmenkollen venue. Kerttu Niskanen of Finland took the third spot.
  • Next, the cross country athletes head to World Cup Finals in Falun beginning Friday Mar. 14 with classic sprints.
  • The mini-tour in Falun, Sweden also doubles as a test-event for the 2015 World Ski Championships.

QUOTES
Kikkan Randall
Holmenkollen is a super fun place to race. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, out on course knows your name. The cheering is super loud and you just get a sense that you're racing on one of the most historic courses in ski racing.

My classic skiing has been all over the place this season. I’ve had some really good results and some tough ones. It is still something I really need to work on but today's result is encouraging.

Sadie Bjornsen
Today was probably the most fun race of the season. The vibe that Holmenkollen has is very special. With so many fans screaming on every inch of the course, you get to experience one of the most special venues for our sport.

I was really pleased with my race today. I have been struggling to stay healthy these past few months, so I was more than excited to be able to pull together a 30k for one of my best races of the season. 

RESULTS
Official Results

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Sun, 09 Mar 2014 15:53:17 +0000

Jerome 10th at Holmenkollen

OSLO, Norway (March 8) – Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) jumped into 10th Saturday at the large hill World Cup on the legendary Holmenkollen venue, the first large hill competition of the season for women’s ski jumping. Jerome was the only U.S. athlete at the event, where World Cup champion Sara Takanashi of Japan went on to take the victory. The women head to Falun, Sweden March 15-16 for a pair of World Cups that double as a test event for the 2015 World Ski Championships.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) jumped into 10th Saturday at the large hill World Cup on the legendary Holmenkollen venue, the first large hill competition of the season for women’s ski jumping.
  • Jerome jumped 118 meters in the first round for a score of 99.6, but put down a 103.6-point jump in the second round to edge her into the top ten.
  • World Cup champion Sara Takanashi of Japan went on to take the victory with Katja Pozun of Slovenia in second and Yuki Ito of Japan third.
  • Lindsey Van (Park City, UT) recently injured her left knee during a training jump in Romania. She flew back to Utah, underwent successful surgery and began a rehab program.
  • The women head to Falun, Sweden March 15-16 for a pair of World Cups that double as a test event for the 2015 World Ski Championships.

RESULTS
Official Results

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Sat, 08 Mar 2014 19:17:34 +0000