|HOUGHTON, Mich. (Jan. 1) -|
Zimmermann started slowly but had the fastest second loop in the 10K skating technique race. He earned the gold medal in 24:39.3 with Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) finishing as runner-up with a 24:45.9 clocking. Garrott Kuzzy (Hayward, WI), who leads the USSA Cross Country SuperTour standings, was bronze medalist in 24:56.5. The championships count for double SuperTour points.
Compton, who shared the team sprint title last season with Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA), is on the U.S. biathlon team after winning the 2007 SuperTour distance and overall titles. "This was awesome. I felt pretty good all through the race," Compton said.
Her winning time in the 5K freestyle race was 13:47.1 with Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) second in 14:11.8. Taz Mannix (Anchorage, AK) claimed the bronze medal with a time of 14:19.6. Karin Camenisch of Switzerland, skiing in the Guest Class with Babikov, had the third-fastest time (14:17.3).
Her plan was to charge from the start. The course drops into a slight downhill after the start "and I didn't want to just cruise into it and be content and then have to turn up the heat," she explained.
Compton started at the back of the 185-skier field "and I was psyched when I saw that. I knew it was a good position" to learn where other skiers, who started ahead of her, were in the race. "I wanted to start hard and keep the hammer down. It was a good plan for me, all the way."
U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said, "there was a lot of good racing going on. Once again, Houghton did an outstanding job of organizing things, and the athletes made it exciting. The women's race was pretty close, and I think we'll see more of that. It's certainly good to see Leif coming back and skiing hard. This should be a fun week."
After an off day Wednesday, racing resumes Thursday with classic technique competitions, a men's 15K CL and a women's 10K. In addition to the World Cup spots, which are to be decided, the championships also are being used in selecting a Junior Championships Team and Under-23 Championships squad.
2008 U.S. CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Houghton, MI - Jan. 1, 2008
Women's 5K FR
1. Caitlin Compton, Minneapolis, MN (Team CXC/USBA) 13:47.1
2. Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT (U.S. Ski Team/Burke Mountain Academy) 14:11.8
3. Karin Camenisch, Switzerland (Team Rossignol) 14:17.3
4. Tazlina Mannix, Anchorage, AK (U.S. Ski Team/APU Nordic) 14:19.6
5. Lindsey Dehlin, Mahtomedi, MN (U.S. Ski Team/Northern Michigan U.) 14:19.7
6. Sadie Bjornsen, Winthrop, WA (Methow Valley Nordic Club) 14:21.8
7. Morgan Arritola, Fairfield, ID (U.S. Ski Team/Sun Valley SEF) 14:22.5
8. Laura Valaas, Wenatchee, WA (U.S. Ski Team/Whitman College/APU Nordic) 14:25.8
9. Annelise Bailly, France (University of Denver) 14:27.3
10. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, AK (U.S. Ski Team/APU Nordic) 14:28.2
Women's 5K FR
Gold - Caitlin Compton, Minneapolis (second U.S. title)
Silver - Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT
Bronze - Tazlina Mannix, Anchorage, AK
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