Nordic Programs

Bjornsen-Hoffman Claim U.S. Distance Titles

by
USSA
2014-03-29 17:36
 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (March 29) – U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athletes Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) and Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) both capped their respective seasons Friday with U.S. distance titles to wrap up the 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships. Hoffman battled with Finnish skier Aku Nikander (University of New Mexico) throughout the men’s 50k classic, where Nikander took the win but the title went to the top U.S. athlete. Bjornsen teamed up with Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) to lead the women’s 30k and emerged with the victory and distance title.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athletes Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) and Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) both capped their respective seasons Friday with U.S. distance titles to wrap up the 2014 U.S. Cross County Championships.
  • Hoffman battled with Finnish skier Aku Nikander (University of New Mexico) throughout the men’s 50k classic, repeatedly trading off the lead on the challenging 10k Spencer Loop course. Nikander eventually took the win but the title went to the top U.S. athlete.
  • It was the second title for Hoffman at 2014 U.S. Championships after his win in the 15k freestyle race last Saturday.
  • Reese Hanneman (APU Nordic; Fairbanks, AK) took the third spot on the podium while Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) skied into sixth and Simi Hamilton (Aspen, CO) seventh.
  • Bjornsen teamed up with Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) to lead the women’s 30k ahead of Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN). Bjornsen led throughout out the downhill and flat sections while Stephen led the pace on the tough uphill sections.
  • In the end Bjornsen emerged with the victory and distance title with Stephen second, Randall third, Diggins fourth and Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) fifth. Rookie Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) finished sixth to cap an incredible first season with the U.S. Ski Team.
  • It was Bjornsen’s third career title after winning the skate sprint and 20k classic at U.S. Nationals in Midway, UT in 2013.
  • Friday’s event took place on the APU Nordic training site, which meant a hometown advantage for Bjornsen, Randall, Hanneman and other APU athletes.
  • The 2014 U.S. Cross Country Championships mark the end of the competitive season for the athletes, who return home for a break before beginning the training cycle again this summer.

QUOTES
Noah Hoffman
I didn’t really know anything about Aku, I didn’t even know his name. He’s a good skier. I didn’t like my chances coming into the final stretch, but part of me was just glad to be with him. I did try a little bit over the final hills, but I just didn’t have a chance getting away from him.

He was better than me double poling all day. I was struggling and it’s been a long season and he was impressive and I’m glad to be done.

Sadie Bjornsen
This is probably one that I’m going to remember most for the season, this and Holmenkollen, because I feel like it’s the hardest race. Since joining APU I’ve realized I may be more of a distance skier than a sprinter and, you know, I prefer that. I always want to sprint, but distance skiing is so fun for me.

We were just pushing so hard out there, making sure nobody was catching us. You always go into this race, the last race of the season like, ‘Oh, I hope we don’t go as hard as we can the whole time because I’m so tired,’ but when it comes down to it, it’s always more fun to do that anyway.

Liz Stephen
I was secretly hoping Sadie was going to win this race. I had a feeling a few days ago this was going to be her day.

Kikkan Randall
I certainly felt like today the caliber is the highest it’s ever been for one of these races. I know these guys can ski really well on the Word Cup so it’s like, you know you’ve got to bring you’re A-game on a day like this.

RESULTS
Official Results
(scroll down for men’s and women’s results)

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