|Williams-Dehlin Win Team Gold|
|HOUGHTON, Mich. (Jan. 6) - U.S. Cross Country Championships. Lindsey Dehlin (Mahtomedi, MN) and Lindsay Williams (Hastings, MN) won the women's team sprint in a big upset.|
Earlier on the final day of the championships at Michigan Tech Nordic Ski Center, Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) and Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA) were upended by the two 2006 Olympians and 2007 NCAA champions from Northern Michigan U., who are on the U.S. B Team. (Dehlin won the NCAA 15K classic technique title while Williams was the 5K freestyle champion.)
Lindsey Dehli/photo Scott Sine
Their gold-medal time was 21:24.4 with Team Rossignol's Karin Camenisch of Switzerland and Czech Martina Stursova finishing second in 21:30.9. Third place went to Randall and Valaas, two U.S. ski Team racers who train with Alaska Pacific U. Nordic. Randall and Valaas received the silver medal and the bronze went to the fifth-place team, Stratton Mountain School (VT) skiers Parker Tyler (Landgrove, VT) and Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT).
"Lindsey came into the final lap in second place, behind the Rossi skiers with the APU team not far back. So, when she handed off to me, I knew I had to pass the Rossi team and stay ahead of APU," Williams said. "I went like crazy. I wanted to get to first and open a gap.
"I didn't hold back," she said.
Randall said the changing snow conditions gave her and Valaas problems in the middle of the race. "Our plan was to ski hard, but the conditions changed and our skis were a bit slow," said Randall. She not only had won two gold medals at the championships, (the sprint Saturday and the 10K classic Thursday) but came to Houghton having just become the first U.S. woman to win a cross country World Cup race Dec. 16 in Russia.
"We were ready but the others were able to stretch it out. Still, it was exciting to see other women in this country skiing fast," she said. "That was really good and I hope they keep getting fast."
The championships were used to determine spots for the World Cup races Jan. 22-26 in Canmore, Alberta, the Junior World Championships, the U-23 Championships and Scandinavian Cup races. The teams will be announced this week.
2008 U.S. CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Michigan Tech Nordic Ski Center
Houghton, MI - Jan. 6, 2008
Classic Technique Team Sprints (2x3 - l.3K laps)
(Only U.S. citizens eligible for medals)
1. Lindsey Dehlin, Mahtomedi, MN (U.S. Ski Team/Northern Michigan U.), and Lindsay Williams, Hastings, MN (U.S. Ski Team/Northern Michigan U.), 21:24.4
2. Karin Camenisch, Switzerland (Team Rossignol), and Martina Stursova, Czech Republic (Team Rossignol), 21:30.9
3. Laura Valaas, Wenatchee, WA (U.S. Ski Team/APU Nordic), and Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, AK (U.S. Ski Team/APU Nordic), 21:41.6
4. Becca Rorabaugh, Anchorage, AK (U.S. Biathlon Team) and Kristina Strandberg, Sweden (The Factory Team), 22:07.0
5. Parker Tyler, Landgrove, VT (Stratton Mountain School) and Sophie Caldwell, Peru, VT (Stratton Mountain School), 22:11.1