Kikkan Randall poses with her World Cup sprint globe earlier this month in Falun, Sweden. (Getty Images/AFP-Jonathan Nackstrand)
CRAFTSBURY, VT (March 30) – Overall World Cup sprint champion Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) proved dominance in her repertoire of disciplines as she won the 30k U.S. Championship in Craftsbury, VT. The win marks Randall's 17th U.S. Championship title and comes as ending punctuation of the most successful season in history for the U.S. women. Teammate Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN), was a mere 1.1 seconds behind Randall at the end of 20 laps around a 1.5k course. U.S. Championships continue tomorrow in Craftsbury with the men's 50k.
Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) took the 30k U.S. Championship title, the 17th U.S. Champ title of her career.
Teammates Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) and Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT) were second and third respectively, with Diggins a mere 1.1 seconds behind Randall.
The podium marks continued dominance of the women's team this season where six skiers scored World Cup points, including seven podiums with two wins for Randall.
Craftsbury organizers did an outstanding job of preserving a ribbon of snow to host the Championships while temperatures toped 80 degrees in the past weeks.
Racers skied a 1.5k loop for 20 laps to make up the 30k.
The men's 50k U.S. Championship is scheduled for tomorrow.
QUOTES Kikkan Randall It was pretty special to be able to wrap up the season with national title number 17! It was really fun to ski the whole race with my U.S. teammates and best buddies Liz and Jessie. They continue to impress me with the progress they've made this year!
The race ended up being pretty fast from the start. Liz pushed the pace going up the main climb on the first lap and continued to keep the pace high up the climb on every lap. We traded places a few times but Liz and Jessie ended up doing most of the leading. Holly [Brooks] was with the group for the first half and I'm not really sure when she dropped off. With about six laps to go it was clear that it was a three person race. I took the lead with three laps to go but only held it for a lap or so. My quads started cramping pretty badly on those last three laps.
For only a 1.5k loop, the course actually skied really well. It seemed to have all the right elements: climbs, downhills, flats, etc. As we made our way around the course through the 20 laps, each lap of the course seemed to break down a little and some sections got pretty soft, slow and wet. I had never done such a long race on such a short lap so I had no idea what to expect.
It feels so good to finally wrap up the season. After finishing the last world cup race two weeks ago, it almost felt like the end. But it's always nice to get one more interface with the North American crew before we all head to our respective homes. I can truly let it all sink in now and celebrate with all those that helped me put together such an exciting year!