The U.S. men's relay team skied to 11th in the opening World Cup in Sjusjoen, Norway. (USSA)
SJUSJOEN, Norway (Nov. 20) - The U.S. Ski Team's Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) skied to second in her leg, recording one of the fastest times of the day, as the USA finished ninth in the 4x5k mixed technique relay in Sjusjoen. Randall, skiing the second classic leg, was 13.5 seconds back. Liz Stephen (Montpelier, VT) was sixth fastest in her third leg (freestyle). The U.S. men were 11th, less than a minute out. Norway dominated both the men's and women's relays. Action now moves to Kuusamo, Finland next weekend for a full-on nordic opener with ski jumping and nordic combined and cross country, including the season opening sprint. Randall finished third in the World Cup sprint standings and led during the mid-point of the season.
QUOTES Head Cross Country Coach Chris Grover Great legs by Kikkan and Liz on the women's side and great job by the men with particularly strong legs by Andy (Newel), Kris (Freeman) and Tad (Elliott). We are getting much closer to putting together relay teams that can compete for the top five for both men and women. This is one of the goals of the team - ski each relay and have enough athletes at the venue to be able to selecct those who are truly skiing fast and in great shape. We're not quite their yet but are getting closer.