Jessie Diggins chases Kikkan Randall during the women's 10k mass start in Falun. (USSA-Margo Christiansen)
FALUN, Sweden (March 17) - Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk took a decisive win in the women's 10k mass start in Falun as Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) led the USA in 14th, dropping one spot to Charlotte Kalla in the battle for fourth overall in the FIS Cross Country World Cup. Randall, who has already wrapped up the season sprint title, will close out the World Cup season Sunday in a pursuit looking to gain 13 points on Kalla. Switzerland's Dario Cologna was the men's winner.
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) skied to 14th to lead the U.S. women in a 10k mass start.
Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN), who skied with Randall during a good part of the race, got tangled near the finish and dropped to 19th.
Randall dropped from fourth to fifth in the FIS Cross Country World Cup overall standings, 13 points behind Sweden's Charlotte Kalla.
Randall is now seventh in the Falun mini-tour going into the 10k pursuit finale.
Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) the only American on the men's side, finished 29th.
Pursuit race Sunday, 15k for men, 10k for women.
QUOTES Kikkan Randall It was decent. There were a few things I would have liked to do differently out there. With it being so icy outside the tracks on the up hills, you kind of had to be in the track and a couple times I got stuck behind people with slowertempos and I felt like if I had just gotten a little space to go around I would have just kept in a little higher of a tempo and gotten up to the next pack.
From the start the pack went for it, but I felt like it broke into pretty good packs and I was happy with the people I had to ski with. I just wish I could have stayed in that next pack forward.
I think our skis were great. I had good kick where I needed it and I think they were pretty fast.
Andy Newell I had a good start position so I just tried to get out, not try to stay in front necessarily, but just try and ski relaxed. I knew it was going to pick up for the first time bonus so I just tried to not pick up my pace much so that I wouldn't blow up. I did that pretty well and then it came together again. It then started to get strung out. I was in a pack for position 24, 25, 26 and 27 and they just got away at the top of the Morderbacken on the last lap and I wasn't able to get back to them so I was really fighting for that 25th spot but ended up 29th and lost a few seconds in the last kilometer but it's OK, it's a long season.