Comp USA

Gelso and Guiney in Charge

SkiTrax - - Contents - by Julie Me­lan­son

Katharine Og­den (Strat­ton Mountain School [SMS]) topped the women's field in the U.S. sea­son-opener 5km FR con­test, while Pa­trick Cald­well (SMS T2) ruled in the men's 10km race. It was a de­ci­sive 26.7-sec­ond mar­gin for Cald­well at the line as the sea­son got un­der­way in the U.S. on Nov. 25 at the West Yel­low­stone Fes­ti­val fol­low­ing Thanks­giv­ing cel­e­bra­tions.

Czech skier Pe­tra Hyn­ci­cova (Univer­sity of Colorado) bat­tled for sec­ond be­hind Og­den at 11.8 sec­onds back, with Erika Flow­ers (SMS) just 1.5 sec­onds be­hind in third.

The men's race was a bat­tle for the two podium spots be­hind Cald­well, as Ro­gan Brown (Sun Val­ley Ski Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion Sun Val­ley [SVSEF]) claimed sec­ond, with Mads Stroem (Univer­sity of Colorado) in third.

The fol­low­ing day, El­iz­a­beth Guiney (Crafts­bury Green Rac­ing Project [CGRP]) pipped Merete Myrseth (Univer­sity of Utah) at the line by a mere 0.3 sec­onds to take the women's 5km CL. Og­den was third at 11.1 sec­onds be­hind.

Scott Pat­ter­son (APU) was un­stop­pable in the men's 10km race with a 20-sec­ond mar­gin over Matt Gelso (SVSEF) in sec­ond, with Ben­jamin Lust­garten (CGRP) on the podium in third. Ac­cord­ing to Ian Har­vey (Toko), “The snow was quite fast, al­though not at all icy. The tracks had some dirt, rocks and sand in them in some places, but over­all con­di­tions were good. Weather was gor­geous and the skat­ing track was al­most per­fect.”

The first Su­per­tour week­end of rac­ing and Round One of the 2016/17 USSA Cross Coun­try Su­per­tour saw Gelso win a dou­ble-header. It took place Dec. 3-4 in West Yel­low­stone, Mont., as lack of snow at the orig­i­nal site in Boze­man, Mont. forced or­ga­niz­ers to re­lo­cate the event.

Gelso took his first Su­per­tour win in the men's 1.3km FR sprints, for a strong kick-off to the sea­son, beat­ing out Tyler Korn­field (Alaska Pa­cific Univer­sity [APU]) in sec­ond and Reese Han­ne­man (APU) in third.

Gelso main­tained a lead he es­tab­lished half­way through the fi­nal, cross­ing the line al­most two sec­onds ahead of Korn­field, with Han­ne­man an­other 2.27 sec­onds back. Ben Sax­ton (SMS Elite Team), Cole Mor­gan (SVSEF) and Dakota Black­horse-von Jess (Bend En­durance Acad­emy) rounded out the heat.

In the women's 1.3km FR, Jen­nie Ben­der (Bridger Ski Foun­da­tion) won over SMS'S Flow­ers and An­nie Hart. Ben­der, the top qual­i­fier, dom­i­nated, with Han­nah Halvorsen (Sugar Bowl) claim­ing fourth, Chelsea Holmes (APU) fifth and Hyn­ci­cova (Univer­sity of Colorado) in sixth.

Day Two of the Su­per­tour opener saw Gelso (SVSEF) top of the podium again, win­ning the men's 15km Clas­sic In­di­vid­ual Start with a hefty 32.2-sec­ond mar­gin over Lust­garten (CGRP), fol­lowed by Pat­ter­son (APU) in third.

In the women's 10km Clas­sic In­di­vid­ual Start, Guiney (CGRP) stopped the clock with a time of 33:52.8, se­cur­ing her the win over Og­den (SMS) in sec­ond at 7.7 sec­onds back. Kait­lynn Miller (CGRP) rounded out the podium in third at 28.4 sec­onds back.

U.S. skiers dom­i­nated the Open­ing Round of the Hay­wood No­ram Buff Sprints, which also dou­bled as Round Two of the USSA Su­per­tour on Dec. 10 in Ver­non, B.C. Held at Sov­er­eign Lake, the 1.2km CL sprint saw Ju­lia Kern (SMS T2) win the Open Women's race, while Han­ne­man (APU) cruised to vic­tory in the Open Men's race.

Guiney and Miller rounded out the U.S. podium, barely edg­ing out top Canada's Olivia Bouf­fard-nes­bitt (Al­berta World Cup Acad­emy), who was the top qual­i­fier by more than two sec­onds. In the fi­nal, Bouf­fard-nes­bitt had a large lead at the top of the sad­dle climb, and main­tained that to the fin­ish­ing straight, where the three Amer­i­can skiers over­pow­ered her in the dou­ble-pole dash to the fin­ish.

Han­ne­man led a U.S. podium sweep in the men's race af­ter qual­i­fy­ing 15th. Mor­gan (SVSEF) and Sax­ton (SMS Elite Team) rounded out the podium. Den­ver Univer­sity's res­i­dent Ger­man Moritz Madlener was fourth ahead of Gelso (SVSEF), who pre­cip­i­tated a big semi­fi­nal crash that left An­toine Briand (CNEPH/SKIBEC) as the only Cana­dian in the A Fi­nal, end­ing up sixth.

In the ju­nior women's race, Han­nah Me­hain (Sov­er­eign Lake) dom­i­nated the qual­i­fier by 6.3 sec­onds and com­fort­ably won all three heats to take her first win of the sea­son. Claire Grall-john­son (Nakker­tok) fin­ished sec­ond ahead of Katie Weaver (Na­tional Ju­nior/holly­burn). Taeler Mc­cr­erey (Den­ver Univer­sity) was to top U.S. skier in fifth.

Gareth Wil­liams (Tele­mark) was in dom­i­nant form in the ju­nior men's race, win­ning the qual­i­fier and all three heats to eas­ily own the day. Gra­ham Ritchie

(Team On­tario/big Thun­der) and Levi Nadler­smith (NDC Train­ing Cen­tre) filled out the podium, with Canyon Tobin (APU) the only Amer­i­can in the A Fi­nal.

Day Two at Sov­er­eign Lake was a win­try day, -10°C. with light fall­ing snow, for the In­ter­val-start skate races. For the women's 10km, Holmes (APU) came away with the win, 36 sec­onds ahead of Flow­ers (SMS), who was fol­lowed four sec­onds later by Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg) in third.

The U.S. dom­i­nated the podium in the se­nior races as Pat­ter­son gave APU an­other win in the men's 15km skate event, pow­ered by a blaz­ing-fast open­ing lap. He fin­ished 13 sec­onds ahead of Gelso (SVSEF). Third was Tad El­liott (Vail), an­other 13 sec­onds later.

For the ju­niors, U.S. sen­sa­tion Og­den (SMS) won the race in a time that would have placed her sec­ond in Open Women's race, 13 sec­onds from the lead. An­nika Richard­son (Holly­burn) was the top Cana­dian in sec­ond at 2:20 be­hind Og­den. Halvorsen (Sugar Bowl) was third just be­hind Richard­son, and fourth and fifth, (sec­ond and third of the Cana­di­ans) were Me­hain (Sov­er­eign Lake) and In­dia Mcis­sac (Rocky Mountain Rac­ers).

Philippe Boucher (Skibec) was the top ju­nior man in a time that made him the third-fastest Cana­dian in the Open Class. Ty God­frey (Can­more) was 46 sec­onds back, fol­lowed by Wil­liams (Tele­mark) eight sec­onds later.

(above left) Ju­nior Katharine Og­den (SMS) had a strong start to her sea­son with sev­eral podi­ums

(top) Matt Gelso (SVSEV) won his first Su­per­tour is the men's se­ries over­all leader.

(above) Jen­nie Ben­der (Bridger Ski Foun­da­tion) took the open­ing women's freestyle sprint.

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