Casey Wright joins Jess Yeaton in Top 30 at US Nationals.

Jess Yeaton qualified in 9th and Casey Wright (pictured) 25th in the classic sprint at the USA Cross Country Skiing Championships. Paul Kovacs overcame some hurdles to be the highest placed Australian male.

For Casey, “today could not have gone better.” She qualified in 25th place, fifteen seconds behind the winner on a course that took over five minutes to complete. Casey commented that she “Had an absolutely awesome time trail and managed to catch the girl who started fifteen seconds in front. I skied to my race plan and I felt like I was able to keep pushing into the next level throughout the race.” This result also had Casey ranked as the 8th U23 in a competition that is used to select the American U23 World Championships team.

Jess Yeaton continued her fabulous run at these Championships by qualifying in 9th place. “Today went well,” commented Jess, “I qualified in 9th which was the best qualifier I’ve had for a while.”

Finishing in the top 30 qualified both Jess and Casey for the senior finals. Jess was in a quarter final with the eventual winner Rosie Brennan and junior super star Katharine Ogden. “I had a pretty tough quarter final; I went out super hard and was in a good position but couldn’t find an extra gear in the second half of the course and was passed by three girls which put me in 5th place in my heat. The course was super long which was great for me being more of an endurance skier but it also made for a long time to suffer. The quarter final was definitely one of the hardest efforts I’ve done in a long time! I really would have liked to make the semi-finals, but I am pleased with my qualifier and looking forward to the skate sprint next Saturday!”

For Casey her quarter final was “not as good as my qualifier, but that’s racing.” All up Casey commented that she was really happy with her race today and looking forward to the 10km mass start the skate sprint in the coming days.

Paul Kovacs was the highest finishing Australian in the male race in 51st out of the field of 175, 20 seconds or 7.6% behind the winner. PK commented that the day was really tough and frustrating although the result was relatively positive. The frustration came from a mix up in skis that saw him race on another athletes un-waxed warmup skis. Being only 4 seconds from finishing within the top 30 this unfortunate mistake proved costly.

Australian Junior Kat Paul raced this classic sprint despite spending most of the week sick and finished in 110th position out of the 136 racing. “As you can tell by my result it was not a good day,” commented Kat. “It felt a little like everything was against me, I have been sick all week and the course was over five minutes long which does not suit how I race. On another note, my skis were good despite the tough conditions so well done to the Sun Valley Ski Team wax techs who prepared my skis.” As Kat regains her health and gets a handful more races under her belt she is sure to improve as she prepares for World Junior Championships in early February.

Mark Pollock raced in one of his least preferred events and finished 151st out of 175. He is really looking forward to the 30km where the technique gains he has made in classic will hopefully show.

Full Results

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