Three Anchorage skiers cracked the top 20 in Sunday's World Cup skiathlon in Lillehammer, Norway.
Sadie Bjornsen, who has made two podium appearances in sprint races in the first two weeks of the season, posted a career-best finish in the 15-kilometer skiathlon by placing 10th to lead the Alaskans.
Kikkan Randall and Erik Bjornsen both registered their best results of the season, with Randall placing 16th in the women's race and Bjornsen – Sadie's brother – finishing 20th in the men's 20-K race.
Bjornsen and Randall were among four American women who scored World Cup points with top-30 finishes to continue a strong start for the U.S. Ski Team's women's squad.
Jessie Diggins of Minnesota led the way in fifth place, and Rosie Brennan – a member of the Alaska Pacific University ski team along with Randall and the Bjornsens – was 29th. Another APU skier, Chelsea Holmes, finished 38th.
Erik Bjornsen was the fastest American man, followed by APU's Scott Patterson in 36th place.
"Once again it was another great day for my teammates," Sadie Bjornsen said by email. "The biggest WOW of the day was my brother, placing 20th in this very tough field of racers here in Norway, on one of the hardest courses on the circuit.
"… And again, another great day for the American girls too! I tried to stay with Jessie during the classic section today, but was just so blown away by how strong she was climbing those hills, and eventually, I couldn't keep up."
The skiathlon started with a classic leg (7.5 kilometers for the women, 10K for the men) and finished with a freestyle leg of the same distances.
Randall, a four-time Olympian, said she felt "much stronger" in the skate leg than the classic leg.
"Underlying fitness feels strong but still searching for my full race gear," she said by email. "Really inspiring to see my teammates racing up there in the front."
Victories went to Charlotte Kalla of Sweden and Johannes Klaebo of Norway....Read more