|MALLES, Italy (Feb. 28) The U.S. Ski Team's Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT/Burke Mountain Academy) made history Thursday, taking bronze in the women's 15K mass start in the Under-23 Cross Country World Championships in Italy as three Americans finished in the top 11. It was the second straight year U.S. women have medaled at the Championships.Stephen, a student at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, added another notch to her podium status, landing in one of three coveted spots six times already this season at competitions including U.S. SuperTour races, Canadian NorAms and a silver medal at the U.S. Cross Country Championships in January.|
"I am speechless, because I would not have believed that we could finish on the podium in the race today. Finally, the United States has won a medal and that makes us happy and satisfied with these races, " Stephens said.
"This is huge for us," said U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner. "Not long ago distance events and women's results were glaring weaknesses. Last year Laura Valaas took silver at U23 in the sprint and now Liz has taken bronze in a distance race."
Taz Mannix (Talkeetna, AK/U.S. Ski Team/APU Nordic) followed Stephen in eighth and Morgan Arritola (Fairfield, ID/U.S. Ski Team/Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) was 11th. Russian Olga Tiagai won the women's race followed by Silia Tarvonen of Finland in second.
U-23 CROSS COUNTRY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Malles, ITA - Feb. 28, 2008
1. Olga Tiagai, Russia, 37:03.4
2. Silja Tarvonen, Finland, 37:24.2
3. Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT, U.S. Ski Team/Burke Mountain Academy, 37:25.1
4. Anouk Faivre Picon, France, 37:26.4
5. Virginia De Martin Topranin, Italy, 37:27.0
8. Taz Mannix, Talkeetna, AK, U.S. Ski Team/APU Nordic, 37:35.9
11. Morgan Arritola, Fairfield, ID, U.S. Ski Team/Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, 37:50.3
36. Evelyn Dong, Bend, OR, The Factory Team/XC Oregon, 40:20.5
The final event of the GKA Kite-Surf season saw sparks fly on the water as Prea delivered four days of perfect strapless freestyle conditions and sensational action last week.