Brennan finishes World Cup fourth, McDonald wins 2 national titles
Skiers with local ties wrap up seasons
Cross-country skier and Park City native Rosie Brennan wrapped up her World Cup season in Finland on Sunday, while Park City moguls skier Cole McDonald won two national titles in as many days in New Hampshire.
Brennan came in 29th place in a classic sprint event on Saturday and 23rd in a classic 20K on Sunday to finish this year’s World Cup slate in fourth place overall and sixth in the distance standings. Her fourth-place finish in the overall standings is her best since she also placed fourth in the 2020-21 season.
“It’s of course bittersweet to be fourth place (overall) but hopefully it can be a reflection of what to do better and come back stronger next year,” Brennan said in a U.S. Ski & Snowboard release. “It’s been really good to find consistency this year and build off that.”
Brennan’s best finish of the season in an individual World Cup event came in a third-place result in Davos, Switzerland, in a freestyle 20K in December. She had two more third-place finishes in team and relay events.
Arguably the biggest highlight for Brennan this season was finishing the 2022-23 Tour de Ski as the top American in fourth place. The Parkite placed in the top 15 in every stage of the seven-stage race, including coming in fourth in the penultimate leg.
“I am very happy with how (the Tour de Ski) all finished,” Brennan told The Park Record in January. “I felt strong in Val Mustair in the first few stages, and then in the middle I kind of wavered a bit and was not feeling so good and then started feeling good again when we got to the last few stages. So, that was nice to kind of feel like I was building form a bit at the end there.”
Brennan didn’t end up winning a medal at the world championships in late February and early March in Planica, Slovenia, but she continued to have consistent finishes. Her best results in Slovenia were a pair of fifth-place placements in a 30K classic and the women’s 4x5K relay.
“I skied with my heart today and gave it my all,” Brennan said in a U.S. Ski & Snowboard release after the 30K. “That was a fight. You have to take a chance and put yourself in it, and I fought until the end and gave it all I had.”
Heading into this year’s national championships and coming off his first trip to the world championships, McDonald had plenty of honors to his name, like Rookie of the Year last season, junior world championships gold medalist, 2022 Olympian and full-time World Cup skier, but he had never won a national championship. McDonald, who celebrated his 20th birthday earlier in the month, ended up not only winning his first national title at Waterville Valley Resort but skiing away with two in back-to-back days.
McDonald made his way through Saturday’s moguls event, advancing to the six-man superfinal. While the Parkite didn’t have the fastest run, he had the best score in turns and put down a couple of solid tricks to edge out Dylan Marcellini for the title. Park City’s Nick Page came in fifth.
The next day in dual moguls, McDonald qualified for the round of 16 and cruised to the semifinals, where he slid past Landon Wendler for the chance to win two national titles. McDonald beat Marcellini in a 19-16 decision to win his second championship, while Page was in fourth after a DNF in the small final.
McDonald’s two national titles came shortly after the final stop on the moguls World Cup circuit in Almaty, Kazakhstan on March 17 and 18. The Parkite finished 16th in moguls and 11th in dual moguls to end the season in eighth place in the overall World Cup standings, which tied his placement from last year. Page ended up as the top American man this season, coming in fifth in the overall standings after he came in fifth in moguls and eighth in dual moguls in Almaty.
McDonald wasn’t the only U.S. skier to come away from this weekend’s national championships with a pair of titles, either. Jaelin Kauf, who came in second in both World Cup events at Deer Valley Resort earlier this year, won both women’s titles, beating Olivia Giaccio in the dual moguls final to cap off a strong weekend.
“It’s been three years since I’ve been able to ski Nationals so I’m stoked to be competing here again!” she said in a U.S. Ski & Snowboard release. “It’s such a fun event to get to ski and compete with all of the regional athletes.”
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“It was nice to get up and feel that relief,” Betsy Hochman said about her bike crash. “To see that everything was still good and to know that I could finish. So I took a deep breath and I kept going.”
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