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Randall, Newell Wins Again
HOUGHTON, Mich. (Jan. 5) - Defending champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) led every heat Saturday en route to winning the women's freestyle sprint title at the U.S. Cross Country Championships at Michigan Tech Nordic Ski Center. Randall, the first U.S. woman to win a World Cup cross country race, won her eighth U.S. gold medal.
Randall survived a spill in her quarterfinal heat at the Michigan Tech Nordic Ski Center and went on to register her third consecutive sprint championship. She has won five U.S. sprint crowns and has three gold medals from distance races.
In the women's race, Randall cruised to her victory with Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA) as silver medalist. Caitlin Compton (Minneapolis), the 5K freestyle champion on New Year's Day - and Valaas' partner last winter in winning the team sprint, was bronze medalist. Karin Camenisch of Switzerland finished third, so the bronze went to Compton in fourth place.
The classic technique team sprints are set for Sunday to end the 2008 U.S. Championships.
The championships are being use to determine not only berths at the World Cup races later this month in Canmore, Alberta, but for Junior World Championships Feb. 3-10 in Poland, Scandinavian Cup races for juniors and the U-23 Championships, which coincide with Junior Worlds. Team announcements are expected to be made in the coming week.
2008 U.S. CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Michigan Tech Nordic Ski Center
Houghton, MI - Jan. 5, 2008
1. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, AK (U.S. Ski Team/APU Nordic)
2. Laura Valaas, Wenatchee, WA (U.S. Ski Team/APU Nordic)
3. Karin Camenisch, Switzerland (Team Rossignol)
4. Caitlin Compton, Minneapolis (Team CXC/U.S. Biathlon Team)
5. Lindsay Williams, Hastings, MN (U.S. Ski Team/Northern Michigan U.)
6. Sadie Bjornsen, Winthrop, WA (Methow Valley Ski Team)