2018 L.L. Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships
Caitlin Patterson Claims Four National Titles
Anchorage, Alaska hosted the 2018 L.L. Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships from Jan. 3-8 in a blizzard of snow. Held at Kincaid Park, one thing became crystal-clear – it was a good Championships if your surname was Patterson or Hanneman.
A 2.5km manmade snow loop was used for racing: four laps for the women and six for the men. While course conditions deteriorated – firm at the start and mushier through the day as more snow and skiers hit the trails – the looped course and interval starts made for spectator- and timing-friendly viewing.
The opening day saw the brother-sister combo of Scott Patterson (Alaska Pacific University [APU] Nordic Ski Team) and Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) sweep their respective races impressively. Scott took the men’s 15km freestyle by a 55-second margin, while sister Caitlin won the women’s 10km freestyle en route to four titles.
A 2.5km manmade snow loop was used for racing: four laps for the women and six for the men. While course conditions deteriorated – firm at the start and mushier throughout the day as more snow and skiers hit the trails – the looped course and interval starts made for spectator- and timing-friendly viewing.
Scott Patterson’s sizzling 36:33.7 bested second-place Noah Hoffman (Ski & Snowboard Vail), with Matthew Liebsch (Pioneer Midwest) taking third.
Caitlin Patterson used a steady start and a strong finish to secure a 20-second gap over second-place finisher Caitlin Gregg (CXC/ LNR/TEAM Gregg). Chelsea Holmes (APU) took the final podium spot, finishing third out of the 147 starters.
On the junior side, a trio of teenagers cracked the top 10 overall in their respective events. Gus Schumacher (Alaska Winter Stars), 17, skied to an impressive sixth place overall, while Ben Ogden (Stratton Mountain School) placed ninth. In the women’s 10km, Hailey Swirbul (University of Alaska Anchorage) raced to eighth overall.
Day Two featured Reese and Logan Hanneman in the sprint freestyle competition. While Logan clocked the fastest qualifying time, it was Reese who took the Nationals crown.
After climbing the small final hill and taking a tight corner into the stadium finish area, Reese Hanneman pulled away from Kevin Bolger (Sun Valley), who settled for second, while APU’S Tyler Kornfield finished third. Schumacher continued to impress, advancing into the semifinals.
Caitlin Patterson continued her domination, winning her second National title in the freestyle sprint, making a strong case for a spot on the U.S. women’s National team.
In the final, she covered the 1.4km sprint course in 3:20.93. Finnish skier Jasmi Joensuu (University of Denver) was second, followed by the Czech Republic’s Petra Hyncicova (University of Colorado) in third. Kaitlynn Miller (Craftsbury) was fourth overall and the secondfastest American, followed by U.S. junior skier Hannah Halvorsen (APU), who had a special day as the only junior to race in the finals.
Caitlin Patterson continued her domination at the Championships, finishing as the fastest American woman in the 20km Classic massstart race on Day Three. University of Colorado’s Hedda Baangman of Sweden was the official winner.
Caitlin Patterson had almost four seconds on third-placed Rosie Frankowski (APU), the second-fastest American finisher. Jessica Yeaton (APU), an Australian national who moved to Alaska when she was 12, was fourth overall and Miller was fifth as the third U.S. skier.
In the men’s 30km Classic mass-start race, Kornfield (APU) burst
away from a tight pack of seven skiers in the final stretch for his first Classic distance National crown.
“Two kilometres out, I felt fast and knew I had to make my move,” said Kornfield. “I knew if I didn’t go hard, I’d regret it for the rest of my life.”
Kornfield crossed the finish line just ahead of four chasers, with APU’S Eric Packer claiming second a mere 0.7 seconds back. Norway’s Eivind Romberg Kvaale (University of Denver) was third overall, followed by Nordic legend Kris Freeman (Caldwell Sport), the third-fastest American and fourth overall.
APU’S Halvorsen won the junior women’s 5km Classic, followed by Swirbul and the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks’ Kendall Kramer (who is a U16 racer). APU’S Hunter Wonders won the junior men’s 10km, followed by Stratton Mountain School’s Ogden (a U18 racer) and APU’S Canyon Tobin in third.
On the final day of racing, the dramatic ice fog and cold lifted for a clear and sunny three rounds of Classic sprint racing in the afternoon. Demonstrating her strength and grit, Caitlin Patterson took a dramatic come-from-behind win in the women’s final, for four National titles in four races over six days. She arguably saved her best for last with some vicious double-poling to reel in Joensuu in the final downhill with just 200 metres to go for the win.
In the men’s 1.6km final, Reese Hanneman and Kornfield broke away from a tight pack on the last major hill climb and speedy downhill. It was Hanneman who popped up first into the 100-metre flat stretch to the finish line, with Kornfield chasing hard. Hanneman stayed just far enough ahead to stave off Kornfield’s frantic finishing move. The win was decided by the length of a ski-pole handle, with Hanneman taking the win, an impressive finish to the 2018 L.L. Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships in Alaska.
Women's 10km freestyle podium (l- (l-r) r) Caitlin Gregg 2nd, Caitlin Patterson 1st, Chelsea Holmes 3rd
Reese Hanneman takes the men's freestyle sprint crown.
Hedda Baangman from Sweden wins the the women's 20km Classic race on Day Three.
Caitlin Patterson en route to victory in the women's freestyle sprint.
APU'S Tyler Kornfield from Anchorage claimed his first Classic distance national title, winning the men's 30km CL.