Scott Patterson and Rosie Brennan each won national titles Tuesday as Alaska ski racers swept the top three positions in both the men’s and women’s distance events at the U.S. Cross Country Championships at Soldier Hollow, Utah.
Patterson, who skis for the U.S. Ski Team and APU, won the 30 kilometer men’s race in 1:13.25. David Norris and Hunter Wonders, both from APU, were second and third respectively in the mass-start event. Three more Alaskans, all with APU, were in the top 10: Zanden McMullen sixth, Garrett Butts eighth and Thomas O’Harra 10th.
Brennan, also with the U.S. Ski Team and APU, won the women’s 20K race in 53:16.9. She was followed by APU teammate Rosie Frankowski, also from Anchorage, in second, and Caitlin Patterson, who grew up in Anchorage and is now based in Vermont, in third. Patterson won the women’s sprint event Sunday.
For Scott Patterson, Tuesday’s win follows a broken wrist over the summer.
“Personally, today was a big validation of my fitness and potential moving forward,” he said by email. “I started the season off a bit behind where I wanted following a mountain biking crash in August where I broke my wrist. I finally committed surgery at the end of October when it became clear that my wrist wasn’t healing. Only in the last week have I really felt that my wrist is up for a race.”
Brennan, who grew up in Utah, led the whole race. She said it was great to ski in front of family and friends before the Olympics in China next month.
“I was feeling quite inspired after watching some great performances by the APU men this morning and that gave me faith that our fitness was high and we could grind away,” she wrote. “I wanted to do my best to simulate World Cup racing so I wanted to start hard and then reassess based on what others in the field did and then ultimately keep grinding to get a long hard effort in at altitude which we haven’t had the opportunity to do on the World Cup this year. The course we raced played into my strengths with a long gradual climb right out of the start so I felt I had to use that every lap to keep building on my strengths and do my best to work on relaxed, powerful skiing the rest of the lap.”