Jessica Yeaton finishes US Nationals with another top 10.

On the final day of US Nationals Jessica Yeaton (pictured above) finished 7th after qualifying in 2nd place in the skate sprint. This is another brilliant results for Jess which places her among the elite women in the United States. Casey Wright and Kat Paul finished in 42nd and 43rd whilst Paul Kovacs had the best result of the Australian men finishing in 43rd.

For Jessica this tops off one great week of racing. Despite finishing in second place, Jess’s quarter final ended up being the fastest and most competitive of the five quarter finals. Jess was able to finish in second and progress to her first semi final at US Nationals. The semi was stacked with Jess’s APU teammates and was another close race where she finished in fourth place. This was unfortunately not high enough to progress to the final but fast enough to ensure 7th place at the end of the day.

For Casey her 42nd was a little disappointing with skate sprinting being one of her favorite events however after racing all four Senior National events fatigue was bound to set in eventually. This is Casey’s first year as a senior athlete and she is bound to get stronger and stronger each year. All up her top 30 finish in the classic sprint and her consistent sub top 50 results are a good achievement and something Casey can be happy with.

For Kat Paul her 43rd was one of her more positive results and shows she is moving in the right direction. The juniors who did not qualify in the top 30 where placed in junior heats which gave Kat a great opportunity to gain finals racing experience. Kat had a good quarter final finishing second and progressing to the semi’s where she finished in 5th. For those in Australia it is worth noting here the length of the sprint with the fastest junior girl finishing in well over four minutes. It is also worth noting the fastest junior of the day was Hannah Halvorsen who finished in the top ten overall. Hannah who is from the Lake Tahoe region of California and skis for the Sugar Bowl Academy is only 16 years old and a name to watch for on the international stage in the future.

The three Australians in the US – Casey Wright, Jessica Yeaton and Kat Paul

In the men’s event the skate sprint wrapped up a long week for the Australians Paul Kovacs and Mark Pollock. Both entered the week with high aims which were not quite achieved. In saying that there were a lot of positives. PK’s 43rd in the skate sprint capped of a week of consistent finishes inside the top 50 of a very large and competitive field and was regularly within or close to 10% of the winners time. Although nothing fantastic this was a solid and consistent week of results which he can build on as he gets closer to World Championships in February.

Mark Pollock described his week as average although again there were a lot of positives. Mark has been absent from international racing these last two years. The experience of racing in an event like US Nationals with a large and competitive field will be priceless. It can be a bit of a shock stepping up from super tour racing to an event like US Nationals. Many of the athletes are the same but the standard increases significantly. Mark’s challenge from hear will be to remain positive, focus on the things he did achieve during the week and build on them as he moves forward.

This is the final report from US Nationals. It is worth acknowledging on behalf of AUSXC that all the Australian athletes were supported by US clubs. Paul Kovacs and Mark Pollock were supported by Bridger Ski Foundation, Casey Wright and Kat Paul where supported by Sun Vally Ski Education Foundation and Jessica Yeaton was supported by the APU Nordic Ski Center.

For those wondering why the results on the FIS website do not match up with the results quoted in the article it is because many of the US athletes racing do not have FIS licences and therefore do not gain FIS points. Only those in the race with FIS licences will appear on the FIS results list. For the full results list visit http://www.superiortiming.com/.

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