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Patterson leading over Frankowski. Photo: John Lazenby

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Norris victorious. Photo: John Lazenby

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Junior boys lining up for mass(ive) start. Photo: John Lazenby

U.S. Cross-Country Ski Championships presented by L.L. Bean: Day Four Recap

Last Updated: 07.Jan.2019

Racers woke up to a dusting of new snow on Sunday morning at U.S. Nationals, as Craftsbury prepared for a full day of mass start freestyle racing. The snow continued to fall lightly throughout the day, settling on the racers as they tackled multiple laps of the tough 5k course. 

The women’s 20k kicked off the day, and for the first lap, 2018 Olympians Caitlin Patterson (GRP) and Rosie Frankowski (APU) traded the lead, with a chase pack not far behind. However, over the course of the second lap, Patterson started to pull ahead. By the 10k, she had a 14.5 second gap on Frankowski, which expanded to nearly 36 seconds by the time they passed the 15k mark. Frankowski, likewise, had gapped the women behind her, and both women skied much of the grueling race alone. All told, Patterson crossed the finish line 40 seconds ahead of Frankowski, and was the only woman to stop the clock at under an hour. Jessica Yeaton (APU) followed six seconds behind Frankowski, though Hailey Swirbul’s (also APU) fourth-place finish earned her third place on the American podium. With her win, Patterson captured her second national title of the week, and another top spot for the GRP on their home course. 

Next up was the men’s 30k. A lead pack stayed largely together through the first two laps, but by the halfway point at the 15k, three men had made a move to put them solidly ahead. David Norris (APU), Scott Patterson (APU), and Kyle Bratrud (SMS T2) traded the lead throughout the rest of the race, passing through the 25k mark within one second of each other. During the last lap, however, Norris made his move, and Bratrud and Patterson could not match it. Norris crossed the line as the national champion 6.4 seconds ahead of Bratrud, with Patterson taking third another 13 seconds back. 

The afternoon saw massive fields for the junior boys’ 10k and junior girls’ 7.5k. The boys barreled across the finish line one after another, with Johnny Hagenbuch (Sun Valley) taking first, Luke Jager (APU) in second, and Zanden McMullen (APU) in third. The girls’ race was won convincingly by Kendall Kramer (Fairbanks), who skied to the finish with no one else in sight. Novie McCabe (Methow Valley) was second, and Sydney Palmer-Leger (Sun Valley) took third.

Today’s national champions were presented with shirts from the Vermont Flannel Company, while the second-place podium finishers were given blocks of Cabot cheddar, and Vermont maple syrup from Butternut Mountain Farm for the third-place finishers.

Full results

2019 Nationals conclude with a day of freestyle sprinting tomorrow. See you there!