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Hanneman's gold at nationals paces Alaska nordic skiers

  • Author: Doyle Woody
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published January 4, 2016

In a dominating performance Monday in Michigan, Alaska's Reese Hanneman conquered from qualifying all the way through to the final to seize the men's freestyle sprint title at the U.S. Cross Country Championships.

Anchorage's Caitlin Patterson, who earned gold Sunday in the women's 10-K classic race that opened the weeklong competition in Houghton, grabbed bronze in the women's freestyle sprint. And Thomas O'Harra of Anchorage topped a podium -- he was the fastest junior man in the senior field of 185 skiers, bagging 13th place.

The medals Hanneman and Patterson pocketed highlighted a big week of national and international racing for Alaskans. Alaska women are competing in both the Tour de Ski on the World Cup Tour in Europe and in the Tour de Ski China.

Hanneman, 26, of Fairbanks, skis for the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Center, as does O'Harra.

Hanneman on Monday posted the fastest qualifying time on the 1.5-K course – 3 minutes, 18.07 seconds – and won his quarterfinal and semifinal heats before holding off Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess in the final. Hanneman clocked 3:15.14 in the final, edging Blackhorse-von Jess (3:15.49) to earn his second national sprint title -- he topped the podium in 2014.

Patterson, 25, posted the sixth-fastest qualifier among women (3:59.36), won her quarterfinal heat and finished second in her semi before earning a bronze medal that marked her fourth career medal at nationals.

Patterson, who competes for Vermont's Craftsbury Green Racing Project, clocked 3:48.98 in the final, where she finished behind winner Jennie Bender (3:44.79) of the Bridger Ski Foundation and runner-up Annie Hart of Vermont's SMS T2 team (3:45.40).

Hanneman's victory led five Alaska skiers in the men's top 15. Logan Hanneman of APU finished ninth, Silas Talbot of the Alaska Winter Stars took 10th, Eric Packer of APU came in 11th and O'Harra was 13th.

Patterson's bronze led three Alaska skiers in the women's top 15. Becca Rorabaugh of APU finished eighth and Jessica Yeaton of APU took 13th.

The nationals continue Thursday with a 20-K freestyle for women and 30-K freestyle for men, and wrap Saturday with a classic sprint for both genders.

Tour de Ski

Olympian Sadie Bjornsen of APU sits ninth overall among 64 women racers after three of eight stages in the Tour de Ski in Europe.

Bjornsen finished ninth Sunday in the 5-K freestyle pursuit, the third stage of the Tour, in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. She finished just behind U.S. Ski Team teammate and eighth-place finisher Jesse Diggins. Diggins, an Olympian, sits eighth overall.

Bjornsen finished 13th in stage two, a 15-K classic on Saturday, and seventh in Saturday's freestyle sprint, which kicked off the Tour.

APU's Rosie Brennan sits 42nd overall in the Tour after her 42nd-place finish in the 5-K pursuit.

Meanwhile, Olympian Erik Bjornsen of APU, Sadie's brother, stands 33rd among 80 men's skiers after three of eight stages in the Tour de Ski. He finished 33rd in Sunday's 10-K pursuit.

After three stages in Switzerland, the Tour de Ski took Monday off and continues Tuesday with a classic sprint for both genders in Oberstdorf, Germany. That's the first of two stages in Germany before the final three stages in Italy.

Tour de Ski China

APU skiers Lauren Fritz and Holly Brooks, a two-time Olympian, have finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in a pair of sprint races at the Tour de Ski China.

The Tour de Ski China consists of five stages. Organizers as of early Monday afternoon had not posted results from Monday's third stage, a 50-K classic.

The Tour continues with a 5-K on Wednesday and wraps with a sprint on Thursday.

Reach Doyle Woody at dwoody@alaskadispatch, check out his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @JaromirBlagr

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