Dartmouth graduate Brennan finds success on US ski team

  • Rosie Brennan, of the United States, competes on her way to finishing second in a Tour de Ski, women's 10-kilometer freestyle, interval start cross-country ski event, in Dobbiaco (Toblach), Italy, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021 (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

Valley News Sports Editor
Published: 1/7/2021 9:53:21 PM
Modified: 1/7/2021 9:53:07 PM

Dartmouth College graduate Rosie Brennan and American teammate Jessie Diggins just can’t stop making history on the FIS World Cup cross country skiing circuit.

Former Big Green athlete Brennan and Diggins, who trains part of the year in Vermont, became the first United States women to post a 1-2 finish in a World Cup race during Sunday’s Tour de Ski 10-kilometer freestyle pursuit in Val Mustair, Switzerland. As if to prove it wasn’t a fluke, Diggins and Brennan went 1-2 again two days later in an interval-start 10K free in Toblach, Italy.

Brennan, a 2011 Dartmouth graduate and eight-time All-American with the Big Green, is in the midst of her best season as a professional. She shot to the top of the World Cup standings with her first career tour victory, winning a sprint race — not her strong suit, she remarked at the time — in Davos, Switzerland, in mid-December, which she followed a day later with a 10K freestyle win. She’s maintained her perch atop the points chase since then despite sitting out a pair of late-December races in Germany.

The Tour de Ski is providing Brennan with a difficult path toward maintaining her overall lead, particularly in the midst of Diggins’ concerted challenge. Modeled after the Tour de France cycling race, this year’s Tour de Ski consists of eight events — with mixed lengths and disciplines — over 10 days at three sites in Switzerland and Italy. The Tour de Ski winner is ultimately determined by the lowest cumulative time recorded over the eight stages.

Heading into a mass-start 10K classic in Val di Fiemme, Italy, on Friday, Diggins leads the Tour de Ski with a total time of 1 hour, 54 minutes, 15 seconds, with Brennan trailing in second place by just 22 seconds. Only one other athlete, Russia’s Yulia Stupak, is within a minute of the pair.

Nordic skiing has not been an American strength over the years, and U.S. competitors have rarely fared well in the Tour de Ski. Diggins, who does some of her training in Stratton, Vt., is the only American woman or man to podium at the event, taking third overall three years ago.

Brennan is the overall World Cup standings leader with 580 points through the first 16 races of the 33-event schedule. Diggins, who has hit the podium in all five Tour de Ski stages, is at 432 points, good for third overall at the season’s mid-point.

No American woman has ever won an FIS World Cup series title; Diggins was second three years ago, and Kikkan Randall landed in third in 2013. Brennan’s career-best overall finish was 17th last year.

Norwegian skiers have historically dominated the circuit, but none have competed in the World Cup since bowing out last month over COVID-19 concerns.

The Tour de Ski concludes with a sprint classic on Saturday and a mass-start 10K freestyle on Sunday, both at Val di Fiemme.

■ Former Dartmouth skier Katharine Ogden continues to progress in World Cup cross country ski racing.

Ogden, who left the Big Green ski team as a junior last year to concentrate on World Cup competition, posted a career-best finish of 18th place in Tuesday’s 10K freestyle at Toblach, then was 20th in the 10K classic a day later. She’s competed in five FIS races this season, including four of the first five Tour de Ski stages.

Ogden tore up collegiate competition in her three seasons with the Big Green, winning three NCAA individual race championships and earning five first-team All-American nods for top-five results at nationals. She’s currently 43rd in overall FIS World Cup points.

■Another former Dartmouth competitor, Sophie Caldwell Hamilton, sits in 19th place in the World Cup standings. Her only Tour de Ski appearance came in the sprint race in Switzerland on New Year’s Day. Caldwell Hamilton graduated from Dartmouth in 2012, making the All-American first team in both freestyle and classic as a senior at the NCAA championship.

YOUTH SKIING FSSC’s McGuire second at Krantz Open

HENNIKER, N.H. — Ford Sayre’s Andrew McGuire made the most of his invitation to Sunday’s Krantz Open slalom at Pats Peak, leaving with runner-up honors in the U14 Alpine ski race.

McGuire recorded a two-run time of 1 minute, 17.56 seconds. He wound up about a half-second behind Crotched Mountain’s Rocco Lazzaro and was the only Ford Sayre boys to complete both runs.

Hailey Pastel was fifth (1:27.15) and Campbell Madden took ninth (1:28.76) for the Ford Sayre girls in a race won by Gunstock’s Tessie Batchelder (1:17.04).

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.




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