Randall 10th in first sprint race of season


Anchorage skier Kikkan Randall made it to the semifinals, but no farther, in the first World Cup sprint race of the season Friday in Kuusamo, Finland.

Randall, the world's reigning champion in the discipline, placed 10th, one spot behind teammate Ida Sargent of Vermont. The ninth-place finish was a career-best for Sargent.

Marit Bjoergen of Norway captured first place for her second win of the season and the 57th of her career. She was joined on the victory podium by Russians Evgenia Shapovalova and Anastasia Dotsenko, who placed second and third, respectively.

Randall and Sargent were the only Americans to advance from the morning preliminaries.

Both made it through the quarterfinal heats to join a field of 12 skiers in the semifinals. They skied in separate semifinals and each placed fifth. The top three from each heat advanced to the finals.

Tenth place was a solid result for Randall, who was coming off a tremendous season-opening weekend in Sweden, where she placed third in a 10-kilometer race and helped the U.S. women to an historic third-place showing in the relay.

Russia's Nikita Kriukov won the men's race for his first World Cup victory since winning an Olympic gold medal in Vancouver in 2010. He came from behind to beat Norway's Petter Northug, who placed second ahead of another Norwegian, Eirik Brandsdal.