Anchorage skier heads into Olympics on high note
ANCHORAGE — To nobody’s surprise, Kikkan Randall never trailed Friday as she completed a sweep of this week’s four races at the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships at Kincaid Park.
Randall was among four skiers from Anchorage’s Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center in the A Final. Laura Valaas was second, Holly Brooks took fourth and Katie Ronsse placed sixth.
For Randall, Friday’s victory was satisfying, but the big prize this winter comes in the same event on Feb. 17 at the Vancouver Olympics. She hopes to become the first U.S. female Nordic skiing medalist that day.
“This is a test run for the Olympics, and in the Olympics there’s no dinking around,” said Randall, who won with a huge 2.7-second margin over Valaas. “So I wanted to go all out.”
Randall’s sweep is rare but not unprecedented.
“I’m really happy with the way my body held up this week,” Randall said after winning her 14th national title. “I really feel like I’m still a couple weeks from peak fitness, but I’m confident I’m gonna get there.”
Christina Gillis, a West Valley High School graduate skiing for Northern Michigan University, made the B Final and placed 12th overall.
Contact staff writer Matias Saari at 459-7581.