|OTEPAEAE, Estonia (Feb. 4) - U.S. cross country skiers produced eight top-15 performances over three days at the J1 Scandinavian Championships, competing against traditional nordic powers Norway, Sweden and Finland as well as Estonia and Latvia. The two U.S. women's relay teams finished in the top six.|
The championships bring together top juniors for a sprint, a distance race and a relay. Fifteen U.S. athletes were named for the trip which is integral in building international experience for developing athletes.
The top individual results came Friday in the women's freestyle sprint. Kate Dolan (Bozeman, MT; Bridger Ski Foundation) was 11th while Sam Tarling (Cumberland, ME; Burke Mountain Academy) was 12th in the men's sprint. In addition, Jaime Bronga (Anchorage, AK; Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage) was 14th behind Dolan with Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN; Stillwater H.S.) 15th.
The 3x3K women's relay Sunday featured a classic leg followed by two legs of freestyle technique. USA-2 - comprised of Bronga with Monica Markvardsen (Northport, WA; Black Jack Ski Club) and Casey Kutz (Winthrop, WA; Methow Valley Ski Club) - was fifth behind Norway-1. Sixth in the field of 13 was USA-2 with Dolan skiing anchor with Diggins and Amy Glen (Anchorage, AK; Alaska Winter Stars).
"I think the results are a good reflection of our skiers being on the verge of competing with the best in the world in their age groups," said U.S. Coach Pat Casey. "The development trend is good because it shows that our development teams are preparing kids for international competition at this young age. They are better prepared to compete at the World Junior Championships or Under-23 Championships after competing in these races."
The J1 Scandinavian Female Championships cross country team:
Jaime Bronga, 2/13/90; Anchorage, AK (Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage)
Kate Dolan, 6/11/90; Bozeman, MT (Bridger Ski Foundation)
Jessie Diggins, 8/26/91; Afton, MN (Stillwater H.S.)
Amy Glen, 3/21/91; Anchorage, AK (Alaska Winter Stars)
Casey Kutz, 8/1/90; Winthrop, WA (Methow Valley Nordic Ski Team)
Monica Markvardsen, 5/8/91; Northport, WA (Black Jack Ski Club)
Abi Holt of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation was trip leader for the J1 Scandinavian Championships. Ingrid Jones of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Travis Jones of the Steamboat Springs (CO) Winter Sports Club were assistant coaches.
photos Janos Schmidt