|LAHTI, Finland (March 1) - The U.S. Ski Team's Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) made the final in a cross country World Cup. Randall finished fifth in the 1.2K sprint of the Lahti Ski Games.|
Sprint finals include the top 30 skiers, men and women, from qualifying rounds matched in six-skier heats. The top two skiers in each heat move on as well as the two "lucky losers," the fastest two sprint times across each round not in the top two in his or her heat.
Randall Makes It Through to Final
After having the 15th fastest time in qualifications, Randall won her quarter-final heat, also in a photo finish over Norway's Marit Bjoergenwas. Randall was the "lucky loser” in her semi-final heat to make the final. She was headed for a second place podium when she got caught up with other skiers 100 meters from the finish.
"Kikkan looked great. She had a little bit of trouble in her final round," Grover said. "She was coming into the finish in second place but she got tangled with a couple other skiers right at the top and she lost a lot of momentum. That knocked her back to fifth place."
The cross country team continues competition in Lahti on Sunday with a men's 15K and women's 10K before moving on to Drammen, Norway for sprints on Wednesday.
"I'm looking to Drammen next week as being the hardest sprint of the year because of the Norwegians," added Newell. "It's a big goal for me next week to make the finals and prove to the world that I can double pole.
"I think the level of sprinting on the World Cup is so high and there are so many top sprinters that not all can make the top 30. The level of competition seems to be building each year. It's tough competition, especially in the classic sprints."
The Drammen World Cup Wednesday leads up to the biggest event in nordic skiing, the Holmenkollen Ski Festival outside Oslo on March 8.
2008 VIESSMANN FIS WORLD CUP CROSS COUNTRY
Lahti Ski Games
Lahti, FIN - March 1, 2008
1. Chandra Crawford, Canada
2. Natalia Matveeva, Russia
3. Evi Sachenbacher Stehle, Germany
4. Petra Majdic, Slovenia
5. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage
60. Laura Valaas, Wentachee, WA