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Schumacher follows up gold medal with 5th-place finish at World Junior ski championships

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: March 4
  • Published March 4

Gus Schumacher skis in the 10K race of the World Junior Championships March 2, 2020. He won the gold. (Photo by Studio2.Media)

Anchorage skier Gus Schumacher followed up his historic gold medal on Monday with a fifth-place finish Wednesday at the World Junior Championships in Oberwiesenthal, Germany.

Schumacher, 19, was the top American finisher in the 30-kilometer mass-start freestyle race. He was nearly a minute behind winner Iver Andersen of Norway, who finished the race in 1 hour, 13 minutes, 39 seconds.

Two other Americans cracked the top 20 — Luke Jager of Anchorage was 19th and Johnny Hagenbush of Idaho was 20th. Zanden McMullen of Anchorage finished 35th.

In the women’s 15K free, Sophia Lauki of Vermont matched Schumacher with a fifth-place finish. She was nearly 90 seconds behind winner Helene Marie Fosseholm of Norway, who clocked 35:55.6.

Kendall Kramer, a West Valley High senior, finished 24th, nearly three minutes after Fosseholm. Kramer was the third American finisher in the race.

Schumacher, an Alaska Winter Stars skier, is posting historic finishes at the race series in Germany, where both the World Junior and U23 championships are happening. The World Juniors are for skiers under 20, and the U23 championships are for skiers ages 20-23.

He has three top-10 finishes in three races. He was the top qualifier in Saturday’s sprint race and placed seventh after failing to make it out of the semifinals, and followed that up with a victory in Monday’s 10K classic. Schumacher’s victory gave the United States its first individual gold medal in World Junior history and its first individual medal of any kind for a man at World Juniors.

So far the only other medal for the Americans in Oberwiesenthal came in the U23 women’s sprint, where Julia Kern of Massachusetts took the bronze medal.

In Tuesday’s U23 classic races, Kern grabbed fourth place and Anchorage’s Hailey Swirbul — a two-time medalist at the 2018 World Juniors — was seventh in the women’s 10K. Ebba Andersson of Sweden won in 28:28.7, with Kern 38 seconds back and Swirbul 63 seconds back.

Anchorage’s Hunter Wonders led the Americans in the men’s 15K classic. Part of an Alaska Pacific University program that also includes Swirbul and Jager, Wonders finished 2:08 behind Sergey Ardashev of Russia, who won in 36:26.4.

In World Cup skiing Wednesday in Drammen, Norway, the top American finish came from APU’s Sadie Maubet Bjornsen. The Anchorage woman turned in a 16th-place showing in a freestyle sprint race.

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