A pair of Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center teammates with connections to the Interior posted top-10 finishes Tuesday in the 1.5-kilometer classic sprint of the L.L. Bean U.S. Cross-Country Ski National Championships in Houghton, Michigan.
Becca Rorabaugh, a former West Valley High School standout, placed ninth overall in the women’s sprint on the last day of the nationals, which started Dec. 31 at the Michigan Technological University ski trails.
Rorabaugh finished in 4 minutes, 35.63 seconds after she reached the women’s semifinal heat.
Hailey Swirbul, an APUNSC teammate, was among six in the women’s sprint final, and the Anchorage resident won overall in 4:41.79.
It was the third gold and fourth medal overall at the nationals for the native of Carbondale, Colorado. Swirbul won in the freestyle sprint and the 20K classic race and was third in the 10K freestyle.
Tyler Kornfeld was among the top six skiers in the final of the men’s sprint. The 2018 Olympian and former University of Alaska Fairbanks racer clocked 4:11.26.
Julien Locke, of the Canadian National Ski Team, compiled the top effort in the final, 4:03.84, and Anchorage’s Hunter Wonders, who also races for APUNSC, was second, and the top American in 4:05.75.
Wonders also was the top male in the sprint who’s younger than 20.
Jenna DiFolco, a former West Valley standout and current University of Alaska Anchorage junior, was 42nd overall 4:50.06 in the qualifier round.
Seventy-one skiers completed the women’s sprint.
The men’s sprint had 88 finishers, and Forrest Mahlen, an APUNSC racer and former UAF skier, was among them.
Mahlen placed 14th overall Tuesday in 3:50.54 after advancing to the quarterfinals.
UAF skier Christopher Kalev, also in the quarterfinals, placed 19th in 3:55.36. He also finished sixth among male sprinters under age 23.
Nanooks teammate Lukash Platil reached the qualifiers, where he finished 45th overall in 4:03.02.
The Nanooks are off until Jan. 18-19, when they race at the University of Colorado Invitational in Boulder.
Ari Endestad, another former West Valley standout and current APUNSC racer, finished Tuesday in 4:04.20 for 50th overall and fifth among men under 20.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.