Nordic national titles awarded
The 2016 USSA SuperTour Finals and L.L. Bean U.S. Long Distance National Championships concluded Saturday with a 50/30-kilometer classic race. Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minnesota) claimed her third individual victory of the series, while Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, Washington) claimed his second individual victory, giving them distance national titles.
In the women’s 30K, challenging conditions forced skiers to race the 30K on a 3.4K loop. Diggins broke away from the pack early, causing her to ski the nine-loop race alone. With intense motivation, Diggins dominated the race by over one minute, ahead of U.S. Ski Team member Ida Sargent (Orleans, Vermont) and Caitlin Patterson (Anchorage, Alaska), who finished third.
"I just went for it today, and I was trying to get as many kilometers done while the tracks were still icy and fast as possible," said Diggins. "It was good to feel good for my last race of the year."
Bjornsen ruled the men’s 50K race after skiing a grueling 15 laps. Bjornsen and Tad Elliot (Durango, Colorado) stuck together throughout the race until Bjornsen made bold moves and kicked it in the final laps, moving up to the lead position. the end of the 50K, Bjornsen had gained 1 minute, 39 seconds to claim a convincing first-place finish ahead of Elliot and David Norris (Anchorage, Alaska), who was third.
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It’s been a rough season for Park City, but a taste of the postseason could pay huge dividends in the future.