Miles Havlick and Chelsea Holmes of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Nordic Gold Team continued to post solid results in Continental Cup racing at Rossland, B.C., Canada.
In Saturday’s Black Jack Haywood Nor-Am men’s 1.6-kilometer skate sprint, 24-year-old former University of Utah All-American Havlick finished second in the final heat to Erik Bjornsen of Alaska Pacific University.
A Boulder, Co. product and 2008 Boulder High grad, Havlick didn’t do much sprinting during his impressive four-year NCAA career at Utah so he was pleased to enjoy success in the sprinting discipline that was one of his strengths as a junior.
Havlick, the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Skiing Association (RMISA) Nordic Most Valuable winner as a Utah senior in 2013, qualified 10th four seconds behind No. 4 qualifier Bjornsen. Bjornsen, 22, nipped Havlick by 0.19 seconds in the final.
SVSEF Gold Teamer Matt Gelso, 25, qualified 23rd of 91 racers and ended up ninth in the sprint final.
Saturday’s NorAm skate sprints at the Black Jack Ski Club delivered an exciting day of women’s racing, too. Emily Nishikawa of Alberta World Cup Academy and Canadian National Senior Team won the women’s 1.4k A-final by 0.22 seconds.
Americans rounded out the rest of the A-final with Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) in fourth, Jennie Bender (Bridger Ski Foundation) in fifth and Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg/Madshus) in sixth.
Holmes, 26, who qualified third of 46 skiers, ended up in seventh place and won the B-final with SVSEF teammate Rose Kemp, 23, placing 10th—same placing as her qualifying run.
Mary Rose, 22, of the SVSEF qualified 28th and made the quarterfinals. Also making the quarters was Community School graduate and former SVSEF racer Annie Pokorny, who qualified 21st.
Sunday, Havlick tied for seventh 1:03 back in the men’s 15-kilometer classic won by Canada’s Kevin Sandau, 25. Gelso (2:37 back) placed 24th of 83 finishers.
Alaska Pacific’s Kate Fitzgerald, 26, won the women’s 10k classic event with Holmes sixth (0:56 back), Kemp 14th (2:16 back), Rose 20th of 38 racers (3:10 back) and Pokorny 24th.
SVSEF Nordic Gold Team head coach Colin Rodgers said, “Another good day for the XC Gold Team. Miles off of the front early on in the A-final but just ran out if gas for the win. Still a great finish though in second!
“Matt (Gelso) had a crash in the semi but came back strong in the B-final to get ninth overall. Chelsea dominated her B-final with a commanding win and skied away for seventh overall. Rose was in the fight in the B-final and ended up 10th. Mary had possibly her best skate sprint ever and finished 20th.”
U.S. racers rise in Switzerland
Ah, the difference a day makes. After Saturday’s 15k and 30k freestyle competitions at Davos, Switz., the U.S. Ski Team racers were content, but not thrilled. Five of them scored World Cup points, but none considered the efforts to be among their best.
But Sunday’s 1.5k freestyle sprints was a different story. U.S. women’s coach Matt Whitcomb was called it “one of our best days ever for sprinting.”
The women’s team was led by Kikkan Randall. In the thrilling final heat, Randall lost a photo finish by the tiniest of margins, just two centimeters, against Norway’s superstar Marit Bjørgen. It was the 62nd World Cup career victory and second in two days for Bjørgen.
For the U.S. three other skiers made the quarterfinals: Jessie Diggins, who qualified in sixth; Sophie Caldwell, who qualified in ninth; and Sadie Bjornsen, who qualified in 18th. Andy Newell and Simi Hamilton both made the men’s heats, qualifying in 12th and 21st.
Holly Brooks landed 33rd, just outside the 30-woman cutoff by about half a second, and Ida Sargent 41st.
Rosie Brennan of APU, Mikey Sinnott of the SVSEF Gold Team and Torin Koos of the Bridger Ski Foundation finished, respectively, 61st, 56th and 85th.
Former SVSEF Gold Teamer Noah Hoffman of Vail, Co. finished a solid 25th in Saturday’s individual start 30k. In the 59-racer women’s 15k won in come-from-behind fashion by Bjørgen, Randall placed 18th(1:52 back), Liz Stephen 20th, Brooks 25th, Diggins 30th and Brennan 51st.
The U.S. team stays in Europe and competes in sprints and sprint relays this coming weekend at Asiago, Italy.