Sadie Bjornsen charges to her second gold medal of the week in the women's freestyle sprint at Soldier Hollow. (USSA-Sarah Brunson)
SOLDIER HOLLOW, UT (Jan. 8) - APU Nordic's Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) won her second gold of the week while Dakota Blackhorse von Jess (Bend, OR) of Bend Endurance took a career-first title as the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships came to a close at Soldier Hollow. it was a third career gold for Bjornsen, who also won Sunday's classic distance event. Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) of Stratton took silver with bronze going to the classic sprint winner Jennie Bender (Johnson, VT) of CXC. Blackhorse von Jess, who was third in the classic sprint, got hit first career title over APU Nordic's Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) with bronze going to Alexander Howe of Craftsbury Green. Over 430 athletes took part in the U.S. Cross Country Championships on the Olympic trails at Soldier Hollow.
Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA/APU Nordic) won her second straight gold to go with two silvers, taking the women's freestyle sprints at the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships at Soldier Hollow. Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT/Stratton) took silver with Jennie Bender (Johnson, VT/CXC) won bronze.
Dakota Blackhorse von Jess (Bend, OR/Bend Endurance) won a career first gold in the men's sprints. Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA/APU Nordic) won his fourth medal while Alexander Howe (Gilford, NH/Craftsbury Greens) took bronze.
Over 430 athletes took part in the Championships.
QUOTES Dakota Blackhorse von-Jess I've got all the podium spots at a Championships but now I've got the top one! It is really cool. Everything is the same as it has been. But now I am just smarter and more confident. I knew that this course I suited towards a distance skier more. I knew that the pure distance guys were going to go for it and they did. I knew that if I went for it and stuck with them it would be OK. The observation was to be third over the final hill. Farther forward and they'll come around you. Farther back and you're not going to make it to the front. And that's what I did and it worked!
Sadie Bjornsen Everybody was exhausted today after four races. Today was really about who could dig the deepest and who could really go for it when they're exhausted. I struggled a bit in the qualifiers this morning so it was a good test for me to come back and know that I could go for it. I ended up in the right place on the downhill and kicked it home.
This is good confidence going into the World Cup. When you're exhausted sometimes your head struggles a bit by thinking "how am I going to do this, I'm so tired" and today was exactly a confidence builder because it reminded me that even when you're tired you can still go. And of course I was thinking about my teammates who just competed at the Tour de Ski and how exhausted they must have been. Now I'm back on the World Cup through the rest of the season.