Logan Hanneman leads the pack to take the national sprint title. (U.S. Ski Team-Bryan Fish)
FAIRBANKS, AK (March 29, 2017) - Hometown skier Logan Hanneman (Fairbanks, AK) of APU Nordic and Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) of Stratton Mountain School each sprinted to big wins Wednesday night at Birch Hill in Fairbanks in the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships. It was the seventh national title for Diggins and first for Hanneman.
Logan Hanneman grabbed first place. (Lance Parrish, Fairbanks)
Hanneman won over Canada’s Evan Palmer-Charente. APU Nordic’s Tyler Kornfield (Anchorage) took silver with Dakota Blackhorse-Von Jess fifth overall but third American to take the bronze. Kornfield’s third place finish overall moved him to within a point of the USSA SuperTour sprint title, but Ben Saxton (Lakeville, MN) of Stratton Mountain School hung on to claim the crown. APU Nordic’s Scott Patterson (Anchorage), who was ninth overall, moved into the overall series lead with one individual distance event remaining on Sunday.
"The race was unbelievable," said Hanneman, who hails from Fairbanks. "I have been thinking about this day for about a year, ever since it became official that my hometown would be hosting these races. To be able to perform well in front of all of the people who have supported me through the years was a dream come true. The crowd was out of this world!"
Jessie Diggins leads Kikkan Randall in the finals to take the sprint title. (U.S. Ski Team-Bryan Fish)
Diggins, who was the fastest qualifier, took control of the final heat to claim the win over Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) of APU Nordic. Erika Flowers (Belgrade, MT) of Stratton Mountain School tookbronze. Jennie Bender (Bozeman, MT) of the Bridger Ski Foundation did not start, but still took claim of the season sprint title in the USSA SuperTour. With just one race remaining in the SuperTour, the overall lead took a dramatic change with APU Nordic’s Chelsea Holmes (Anchorage), who was eighth, moving into the lead.
Jessie Diggins stands atop the podium with Kikkan Randall in second and Erika Flowers in third. (Lance Parrish, Fairbanks)
The relay is set for Friday, with the final event of both the L.L.Bean U.S. Championships and USSA SuperTour set for Sunday with men’s 50k and women’s 30k freestyle events. Local organizers under the leadership of John Estle have been doing an outstanding job managing typical late season weather conditions. Courses have been challenging with late afternoon racing under the lights for the sprints and relays Friday allowing spectators to come out to Birch Hill after work.
The final events of the L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships follow on the heels of the initial events held at Utah’s Soldier Hollow trails in early January. Each of the events will be live streamed on YouTube.
L.L.Bean U.S. Championships Schedule
Friday, March 31 6:30 p.m. - Mixed gender/mixed technique relay
Sunday, April 2 10:00 a.m. - Women’s 30k freestyle mass start (junior women’s 13.3k freestyle) 12:30 p.m. - Men’s 50k freestyle mass start (junior men’s 20k freestyle)
Logan Hanneman This is my first U.S. national title, and also first medal. I have been fourth and fifth a few times, but never on the podium. The race was unbelievable. I have been thinking about this day for about a year, ever since it became official that my hometown would be hosting these races. To be able to perform well in front of all of the people who have supported me through the years was a dream come true. The crowd was out of this world! The race was quite hard, with a very large climb early in the race seeming to take a lot of the energy out of people. For the final, I stayed in contact up that hill but did not want to lead. Then I had the juice for the final climb to make a move. I am still just really amazed that it all came together on a day that I had been looking forward to for a year!
Jessie Diggins It’s so fun getting to see all my friends and catch up. For me, the awesome people involved in this sport is what gets me to spring series each year! They’ve done a great job with the races here in Fairbanks, too. There are so many excited and helpful volunteers and the courses are groomed really well with some really fun flow to them. The skate sprint was a fun day and I thought it was great to get to race a slightly longer course. There were three climbs and some fun technical turns on the downhills that made it a really entertaining course. My strategy was to just go out hard and control the race from the front, and with a longer course, try and wear people out before the final 100 meters.