Alaska skiers excelling on World Cup and SuperTour
From the World Cup in Europe to the SuperTour in North America to the upcoming World Youth Olympic Games, Alaska skiers are striding strong.
With one race remaining in Period 1 of the World Cup, Sadie Maubet Bjornsen of Alaska Pacific University is ranked fourth in the overall standings after finishing ninth on Dec. 15 at the 10K freestyle race in Davos, Switzerland. In six races so far this season, Maubet Bjornsen has placed as high as third and no worse than 16th.
Rosie Brennan of APU is 18th in the overall standings.
Also, APU teammates Hailey Swirbul and Rosie Frankowski each scored in the points in Davos Dec. 15 in 21st and 23rd places, respectively.
On the SuperTour, the U.S. series that helps determine which skiers move up to the World Cup, APU’s Tyler Kornfield convincingly won a classic sprint Dec. 14 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kornfield, a 2016 Olympian, qualified first and later took the head-to-head final by 1.3 seconds.
In that sprint, Luke Jager of Anchorage was runnerup for his first SuperTour podium.
Jager, who has represented APU for years and is a newcomer to the U.S. Ski Team “D Team”, is now a freshman competing for the University of Utah.
“I personally needed something different for awhile to keep myself excited about the sport and to keep things fresh for me,” Jager said this fall when asked about his move to collegiate skiing. “It was an incredibly hard decision just because APU has been so so good to me my whole life and the whole community in Anchorage has been so supportive of me. … I have every intention of returning full-time to the (APU) team whenever it is that my college career comes to an end.”
Jager joined a Utah program that has a good mix of American and foreign skiers and won the 2019 NCAA ski championship.
“I’m also excited to be part of this wave of young guys that are all taking the NCAA path right now and still being competitive at international levels,” said Jager, who now resides in Salt Lake City not far from the US Ski Team’s base in Park City, Utah.
Another one of those “young guys” in the NCAA is Anchorage’s Zanden McMullen, who is racing for Montana State University and took second in the U18/U20 in the Dec. 15 SuperTour freestyle race.
APU skiers that also performed well at the Sun Valley SuperTour included Forrest Mahlen, 10th in the sprint; Becca Rorabaugh, 10th in the sprint and ninth in the freestyle; and Hunter Wonders, 10th in the freestyle. Wonders had a breakthrough race a week earlier at the NorAm/SuperTour event in Canmore, Alberta, where he placed third in the 15K interval-start freestyle race just eight seconds behind winner Benjamin Lustgarden, a veteran of the World Cup.
The next major domestic races will be the U.S. Senior Nationals Jan. 2-7, 2020, in Houghton, Mich.
Meanwhile, Kendall Kramer was one of six athletes named to the Nordic ski team for the World Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland Jan. 9-22. She’ll be joined by Anchorage natives Carter Brubaker, who will compete in Nordic Combined, and Maja Lapkass, who will participate in biathlon.
-By Matias Saari, Alaska Sports Blog Contributor