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Old 01-27-2008, 01:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Randall, Kuzzy Lead U.S. in FR Sprints

CANMORE, Alberta (Jan. 26) - Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) finished eighth and World Cup rookie Garrott Kuzzy (Hayward, WI) was ninth in 1.1K freestyle sprints Saturday. Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) was 11th while Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) was mouse-trapped on a turn and eliminated in his quarterfinal heat.

Emil Joensson of Sweden won the men's sprint while Olympic champion Chandra Crawford of Canada was the women's winner. Saturday was the last of four days of racing at the 1988 Olympic venue west of Calgary. The schedule resumes in two weeks in Otepaeae, Estonia.

"We saw some good skiing out there, and some outstanding skiing from Kuzzy," U.S. Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said. "He capitalized on his fitness as well as his skiing."

Thirty skiers made the finals heats. Five groups of six compete with two skiers advancing to the next heat and two "lucky losers" who had the next fastest non-qualifying times moved up in each heat, too.

Kuzzy, a Middlebury College grad from Team CXC, just slid into the heats after qualifying 29th. He moved into semifinals and just missed being chosen as a "Lucky Loser" for finals. He wound up settling happily for his first World Cup top-10 result. Koos was 11th and Newell 17th, coincidentally his same finish in Wednesday's classic technique sprint.

"This was the race I was looking at all week," said Kuzzy, who also leads the USSA Cross Country SuperTour. "I was hoping to get into the top 30. If that happened, I had no idea what to expect in the heats. In the semifinal, I thought I'd made the final, but then they said no, I'd lost the photo finish. It was still a great day. I know what I need to work on. The Olympics are always the dream, but now I know what I still have to do."

Vordenberg was pleased with the final day's racing, although he would have preferred to see Newell in the semis and finals. "It looked like a tactical error for Andy, which was too bad," he said.

Kuzzy, who was in the same quarterfinal heat with Newell, said the Vermonter appeared to get caught as everyone settled into a finishing lane. "Andy went to the right and they moved him out while I went into the first lane and I had a clean shot to the finish," he explained. "Andy had been in first or second most of the heat, but in the final 300 meters or so, where it's all-out drag racing, I picked my lane and was all alone while he was boxed out."

Randall qualified fifth and won her quarterfinal heat. She was eliminated in the semifinal round but rebounded to finish second (eighth overall) in the so-called B Final mixing the six from semis who didn't move into the final heat. "Kikkan looked super strong but this is sprint racing and a lot stuff goes on out there," Vordenberg said. "It's kind of crazy. How else do you explain no Norwegians in the men's final after they took the top five places in the classic sprint three days ago? It wasn't just the change in technique, I'm sure. It's the nature of sprints - anything can happen."

Kuzzy, Leif Zimmermann (Bozeman, MT) and Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA) will join the U.S. Ski Team for World Cup racing in Europe over the next six weeks, Vordenberg said.

"We didn't reach our goal, which was to have someone on the podium here in Canmore, and that's disappointing," he said. "We have to improve the program so we can target an event and capitalize on it. We had everything going for us here. We had great skis, a good living situation, good health, a kind of 'home field advantage' - and we couldn't get that podium.

"We have the athletes to get it done, and the staff to get it done. Now, we just have to do it. We've got some serious work to accomplish, but I'm really revved about getting done what we need to do so when we get to Vancouver in 2010, we know we've done everything to make things happen."

The Viessman FIS Cross Country World Cup schedule resumes Feb. 9-10 in Otepaeae, Estonia. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation is conducting a behind-the-scenes VIP trip ("Caviar and Cross Country") to Otepaeae and one to the fabled Holmenkollen nordic festival ("Nordic Nights") next month. Click here for details.

Alberta World Cup
Canmore, ALB - Jan. 26, 2008
Men's 1.1K FR Sprints
(30 qualify; six make finals)
1. Emil Joensson, Sweden
2. Ivan Ivanov, Russia
3. Matias Strandvall, Finland
4. Nikolay Morilov, Russia
5. Josef Wenzl, Germany
6. Vassili Rotchev, Russia
9. Garrott Kuzzy, Hayward, WI
11. Torin Koos, Leavenworth, WA
17. Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, VT
33. Chris Cook, Rhinelander, WI
54. Leif Zimmermann, Bozeman, MT
55. Colin Rodgers, Sun Valley, ID
57. Anders Haugen, Anchorage, AK
58. Lars Flora, Anchorage, AK
67. Marshall Greene, Bend, OR
69. Brian Gregg, Winthrop, WA
Women's 1.1K FR Sprint
1. Chandra Crawford, Canada
2. Pirjo Muranen, Finland
3. Magda Genuin, Italy
4. Natalia Matveeva, Russia
5. Arianna Follis, Italy
6. Virpi Kuitunen, Finland
8. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, AK
44. Laura Valaas, Wenatchee, WA
46. Lindsay Williams, Hastings, MN
55. Kate Arduser, Anchorage, AK

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