Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Gold Team cross-country ski racer Patrick Johnson, 23, was in the lead pack of Saturday’s 40th anniversary American Birkebeiner race at Hayward, Wisconsin.
Johnson (2.09:18.9) finished seventh overall within one second of Birkie winner Sergio Bonaldi of Milan, Italy (2.09:18.1) as the cowbell-clanging fans greeted the top finishers along Hayward’s Main St. Bonaldi won $7,500 as the Italian men, who won the Birkie six straight years from 2001-06, reasserted themselves.
A Middlebury College product from Anchorage, Alaska, Johnson led the 14-skier Wood River Valley contingent among the 3,956 finishers in the 50-kilometer skate race and the 1,799 in the 54k classic race.
SVSEF Nordic coach Colin Rodgers, 31, was 14th overall among the 3,174 men and second in Men’s 30-34 at 2.09:27. Ketchum’s Nicole DeYong, 30, was also in the lead women’s pack and finished as the fifth female out of 782 in 2.29:04.9, good for 76th place overall.
Former Ketchum resident Hilary Patzer, 33, of St. Paul, Minn. finished sixth among the 379 women and second in the 30-34 class at the 54k classic distance with a 3.23:19 time.
Winning their Birkie age classes were Elizabeth Youngman, 53, of Sun Valley and EJ Harpham, 56, of Bellevue.
Local results in the 54k Birkie classic: 393—Michael Dunham, 63, 4.16:54 (23rd 60-64). 636—Joni Cashman, 58, 4.45:51 (6th 55-59, 97th woman).
And, among the 1,936 finishers in the 23k Kortelopet skate, 32-year-old Lauren Thomas was 892nd overall in 2.17:55, the 362nd woman and 26th in the 30-34 age class.
Generally the times were slower than last year, although repeat finisher Eric Huus was 2:51 faster. Wood River results in the 50k Birkie skate, starting with overall finish, name, age, time and class and/or gender placings (3,956 finishers):
7—Patrick Johnson, 23, 2.09:18.9 (1st 18-24). 14—Colin Rodgers, 31, 2.09:27 (2nd 30-34). 76—Nicole DeYong, 30, 2.29:04.9 (5th woman). 140—Elizabeth Youngman, 53, 2.35:56 (1st 50-54, 15th woman).
210—Jim Santa, 52, 2.41:48 (16th 50-54). 617—EJ Harpham, 56, 3.05:26 (1st 55-59, 67th woman). 993—Eric Huus, 42, 3.20:56 (109th 40-44). 1056—Alex Margolin, 48, 3.23:17 (145th 45-49). 3114—Shell Seibel, 48, 4.45:35 (71st 45-49, 544th woman). 3178—Lucas Thomas, 36, 4.49:23 (232nd 35-39). 3741—Anne Jeffery, 63, 5.51:48 (16th 60-64, 713rd woman).
Engen, French, Ritz lead Masters at World Cup
Twenty-three Wood River Valley cross-country skiers joined 1,173 athletes from 25 nations, including 127 from the U.S., at the 32nd Masters Nordic World Cup Feb. 16-22 at Asiago, Italy.
Enjoying his week the most as far as making the podium was Jon Engen, with silver and bronze in the individual races and bronze in the relays.
Ketchum’s Charley French blew away the competition for two gold medals in Men’s 85-plus classic events.
Muffy Ritz pocketed a pair of silver medals, one in freestyle and one in classic. Joanne Davis also claimed silver and bronze in skate racing. Kelly Allison and Norman Clark each picked up a pair of bronze medals in their age classes.
There are 12 age classes for eligible skiers 30 and over. Russia won the medals count with 38 golds, 45 silvers and 34 bronze for 117 medals. The U.S. had 38 medals—9 gold, 9 silver and 20 bronze. Here are results:
( Freestyle, mass start—In Men’s 80-84, Norman Clark 3rd 15k in 1.12:48 and 3rd 10k in 44:41; in Women’s 75-79, Joanne Davis 3rd 15k in 1.24:48 and 2nd 10k in 52:14; in Men’s 70-74, J. Peter Maier 27th 30k in 2.02:57 and 35th 15k in 57:55; in Women’s 70-74, Carol Holman 9th 10k in 54:59; in Men’s 65-69, Del Pletcher 7th 30k in 1.34:00 and 4th of 58 racers in 15k in 41:43, just 13 seconds back;
In Men’s 60-64, Pat Simpson 40th 30k in 1.39:19 and 32nd 15k in 45:21; in Men’s 60-64, Matt Gervase 62nd 30k in 1.56:02 and 60th 15k in 51:34; in Women’s 65-69, Ann Scales 6th 30k in 2.25:13, Carol Stevens 7th 30k in 2.25:49, Carol McLaughlin 8th 30k in 2.47:44 and Jan Toohey 9th 30k in 3.00:26; in Women’s 60-64, Charlotte Alexander 12th 30k in 2.02:01 and 16th 15k in 55:52;
In Women’s 55-59, Muffy Ritz 4th 30k in 1.33:52 and 2nd 15k in 43:50, 23.5 seconds off the top time; in Men’s 55-59, Jon Engen 3rd 45k in 2.03:09 and 2nd 30k in 1.18:02, just 12.7 seconds back of the top time.
In Women’s 55-59, Brenda Spackman 22nd 15k in 51:44 and Paula Perry 31st 15k in 1.17:47; in Women’s 50-54, Kelly Allison 3rd 30k in 1.32:39, 37 seconds off the winning time, and 3rd 15k in 44:42; in Women’s 50-54, Kelly Martin 13th 30k in 1.58:15 and 15th 15k in 56:31; also in Women’s 50-54, Lynn Chaldu 15th 30k in 2.11:19 and 16th 15k in 57:07; in Women’s 45-49, Kirsten Ritzau 14th 30k in 1.42:49 and 11th 15k in 49:00; and in Men’s 55-59, Chris Puchner 59th 30k in 1.51:08.
( Classic, mass start—In Men’s 85-plus, Charley French 1st 10k in 47:53, a winner by 11:42, and 1st 15k in 1.21:57, a winner by nearly 17 minutes; in Women’s 55-59, Muffy Ritz 2nd 10k in 33:32, just 14 seconds off the top time, in Women’s 50-54, Joney Otteson 10th 15k in 56:18, 8th 10k in 38:21, and 9th 30k in 1.02:15; in 60-64 Karen Simpson 12th 15k in 1.07:47 and 17th 10k in 45:45; in Men’s 55-59, Chris Puchner 37th 10k in 36:35 and 27th 45k in 3.14:51.
In Wednesday’s 4x5 classic/freestyle relays, Engen was on the third-place Men’s 55-59 team, Pletcher on the fifth-place Men’s 65-69 squad, and Ritz, Joney Otteson and Allison on a fourth-place relay team.
Yellowstone Rendezvous is Saturday
Local cross-country skiers are gearing up for the 34th annual Yellowstone Rendezvous Nordic races Saturday, March 2 on the Rendezvous Ski trails at West Yellowstone, Mt.
The American Ski Marathon Series event offers freestyle racing at 50 kilometer (31 miles), 25k, 10k, 5k and 2k distances, plus a 25k classic race that kicks off the festivities Saturday at 9:15 a.m. The skate waves of skiers begin Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
Mountain men will fire black powder cannon to kick off the event on the 25k course starting on the old Union Pacific railroad bed on the south side of West Yellowstone.
The course winds through trees and climbs about 300 feet to an amazing view, then is followed by a series of sweeping downhill runs with a few moderate uphill climbs. It’s all downhill after the 21k mark. The 50k racers complete the course twice.
Registration deadline is Thursday, Feb. 28 at 12 noon by visiting the race Web site at rendezvousrace.com or by calling the race organizer at 406-646-7265. Bib pick-up is Friday from 5-9:30 p.m. at the West Yellowstone Holiday Inn.
The awards party is Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn. Prize money goes to the top three men and women at the 25k distances ($300, $250, $200), plus the 50k race ($500, $400, $300). You must be present to collect. Medals are given to the top three finishers in each age class.
Last year 495 skiers took part in the event including 42 from the Wood River Valley. There were 25 podium finishers from here including 12 gold medalists in their age classes.