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XC nationals: Freeman wins again; Turzian tops


Kris Freeman won his second straight title Thursday at the U.S. Cross Country Championships as the two-time Olympian and member of the U.S. Ski Team won the 15-kilometer freestyle race. Lars Flora was second and James Southam third.
      Alexa Turzian, who skis out of Sun Valley, won the women's 10 km event, edging teammate Kikkan Randall. Randall finished second for the second straight day. Karin Camenisch finished third.
    U.S. disabled skiers also competed in the second day of races. Greg Mallory won Thursday's 6 km race in 23:02. Andy Soule was second in 23:24 and Sean Halsted took third. All three are members of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team.


HOUGHTON, Michigan — Kris Freeman won his second straight title Thursday at the U.S. Cross Country Championships, while 18-year-old Alexa Turzian became what is believed to be the youngest U.S. cross-country champion by winning the women's freestyle race.
    Freeman, a two-time Olympian who on Wednesday won the 10 kilometer classic event, completed the 15 km freestyle course in 39 minutes, 34 seconds, beating Olympic teammate Lars Flora of the Subaru Factory Team by 47 seconds. James Southam, another Olympian who skis for the Rossignol Elite Team, finished third.
    "I'm pretty psyched aboout this. It's my first skate [freestyle] title," Freeman said. "I had seven classic and now I'm starting to balance it in skating."
      U.S. disabled skiers also competed in the second day of races. Greg Mallory won Thursday's 6 km race in 23:02. Andy Soule was second in 23:24 and Sean Halsted took third. All three are members of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team. 
    Turzian, a former alpine racer who skis out of Sun Valley, won the women's 10 km event in a time of 27:49. Kikkan Randall of the U.S. Ski Team made the podium for the second day in a row, taking the runner-up spot both days. Switzerland's Karin Camenisch of the Rossignol Elite team took third place, just seven seconds behind Randall. However, only U.S. racers are eligible for medals at the championships, so fourth-place finisher Taz Mannix picked up the bronze.   
    Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation athlete Turzian has made tremendous strides in just one season. At the 2006 nationals, she was 24th in the sprint, and she was 34th in the pursuit at the 2006 world juniors.
    "I definitely surprised myself. It's awesome but I'm definitely in shock," Turzian said. "I felt like I was going to be top 10, but I felt really strong.     
    "I tend to do really well on the downhills because I was an alpine skier," she added.
    This was the second day of racing at the championships, held at the Michigan Tech Nordic Training Center. Racers again faced temperatures in the low 40s and soft trail conditions. Competitors will now have a day off before entering a weekend of sprinting.
    "It only cooled down to about 38 degrees during the night, so during the women's race it was kind of like boilerplate ice," U.S. coach Chris Grover said. "But by the guys' race, it softened up and then turned to slush and was loose.  
    "I saw Alexa, who'd won the skate race last season at junior nationals, at the finish and she was looking smooth and relaxed — and fast. In the men's race, Kris had a one-second lead over Flora and James at the 3K mark but then they got into the climbs — which aren't great but he could take advantage of — and he just kept putting more time on the field. He skied away from everyone." 
    Following Thursday's races, volunteers moved several truckloads of snow to the sprint course, using their backs and their shovels to ensure a solid base for Saturday's races.
    The U.S. Cross Country Championships will continue on Saturday with the individual classic sprint races. On Sunday, the U.S. championships will debut a team relay event. Teams of two skiers will alternate, skiing three laps apiece.

Click here for complete results.

2007 U.S. CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
Michigan Tech Ski Trails
Houghton, Mich. – Jan. 4, 2007

(Only U.S. skiers eligible for medals)
Men's 15 km freestyle
1. Kris Freeman, Andover, N.H./U.S. Ski Team, 39:34.7
2. Lars Flora, Anchorage, Alaska/Subaru Factory Team, 40:21.8
3. James Southam, Anchorage, Alaska/Team Rossignol, 40:38.2
4. Carl Swenson, Park City, Utah/Subaru Factory Team, 40:51.6
5. Garrott Kuzzy, Hayward, Wis./CXC, 40:54.6
6. Andrew Johnson, Greensboro, Vt./U.S. Ski Team, 41:12.2
7. Brayton Osgood, Putney, Vt./XC Oregon, 41:25.1
8. Dave Chamberlain, Bethel, Maine/Maine Winter Sports Center, 41:28.3
9. Eli Enman, Huntington, Vt./Team Rossignol, 41:44.5
10. Chad Giese, St. Paul, Minn., Subaru Factory Team, 41:46.9

Women's 10 km freestyle
1. Alexa Turzian, Sun Valley, Idaho/Sun Valley Ski Educational Foundation, 27:49.5
2. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, Alaska/U.S. Ski Team, 27:58.8
3. Karin Camenisch, Switzerland/Team Rossignol, 28:05.5
4. Taz Mannix, Anchorage, Alaska/U.S. Ski Team, 28:17.8
5. Lindsey Weier, Mahtomedi, Minn./Northern Michigan U., 28:19.1
6. Sarah Konrad, Laramie, Wyo./Team Madshus, 28:22.5
7. Caitlin Compton, Minneapolis/CXC, 28:37.1
8. Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, Vt./U.S. Ski Team, 28:39.9
9. Lindsay Williams, Hastings, Minn./Northern Michigan U., 28:40.2
10. Kristina Strandberg, Sweden/Subaru Factory Team, 29:09.6

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