Caldwell Fifth in Dresden City Sprints
Sophie Caldwell (Stratton Mountain, Vt.) skied two very smart sprint heats, setting her up for a fifth-place finish in the FIS Cross Country World Cup Dresden city sprint Saturday. The podium was swept by Sweden led by Stina Nilsson, Maja Dahlquist in second and Jonna Sundling in third.
In the semifinals, Caldwell rounded the final turn in the first lap towards the back but jumped on the Swedish train of Nilsson and Sundling moving up the outside to finish second for the heat, qualifying for the finals.
“Today was a long, flat course with a big headwind as you headed out of the stadium each lap, so my strategy was to conserve energy for the first lap and try position myself well with fresh legs for the second lap,” said Caldwell. “This worked quite well in my quarter and semi, but in the final, I was bopping around not quite in the draft at the beginning of the second lap and definitely lost my legs a bit for the last half of the lap.”
Also qualifying for the women was Julia Kern (Waltham, Mass.), skiing in her first World Cup of the season. Kern, along with D Team members Hannah Halvorsen (Truckee, Calif.) and Hailey Swirbul (Anchorage, Alaska) are in Dresden on their way to the U23 Championships beginning later in January.
In the men’s race, both U.S. qualifiers Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vt.) and Kevin Bolger (Burlington, Vt.) were in the same quarterfinal heat. Although Bolger led most of the first lap, neither one was able to advance. The race was won by Norwegian Sindre Bjoernestad Skar, followed by Gleb Retivykh of Russia and Erik Valnes from Norway in third.
Sunday’s event will be the team sprint, a true favorite of the Americans. For the women, Kern and Caldwell are teaming up for USA1, Sargent and Halvorsen are teamed up for USA2.
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