CRAFTSBURY — Hometown favorite Caitlin Patterson claimed her sixth national Nordic skiing title in the past two years Sunday.
The University of Vermont graduate took home her eighth overall crown with a 37-second victory in the 20-kilomenter freestyle race at the U.S. Cross Country Championships.
“It was great to be skiing here on my home trails as I know these downhills so well and had great skis thanks to my techs,” Patterson said in an interview with the U.S. Ski Team. “It was my focus to ski really smoothly and I worked the transitions, worked the downhills and just smoothly skied away. Today was a really fun race.”
Patterson crossed the line in 59 minutes, 23.1 seconds to hold of 2018 Olympian Rosie Frankowski (1:00:03). A 28-year-old UVM graduate, Patterson competes for the Craftsbury Green Racing Project and won last Thursday’s 10-kilometer classic race. The 2018 Olympian has been a force to reckoned with in most domestic distance events, and Frankowski was her teammate at the Winter Games. Frankoski placed 21st in the 30k classic race at the Olympics, and during Sunday’s event she swapped leads with Patterson a few times during the first 5k lap.
Even though Frankowski tested Patterson early in the race on the uphills, the Craftsbury skier steadily pulled away on each downhill to establish an early gap. Patterson led by 14 seconds midway through the action and skied by herself for a big portion of the race.
Australian competitor Jessica Yeaton finished third (1:00:09.7), while Hailey Swirbul (1:00:30.1) filled out the U.S. podium because foreign racers cannot claim medals at national championships. Elmore athlete Kaitlynn Miller placed 10th in 1:02:33.5. Other top area finishers were UVM’s Evelina Sutro (fifth, 1:00:49.4), Dartmouth’s Katharine Ogden (ninth, 1:01:52.9) and Middlebury College’s Annika Landis (13th, 1:02:40.2).
Alaska Pacific University skier David Norris won the men’s race in 1:18:02.4. Stratton Mountain School T2 skier Bratrud, Kyle (1:18:08.8) placed second in front of Scott Patterson (1:18:21.4).
“There were several lead changes throughout the race and with about 1k to go I went to the front and put in a 45-second hard push,” Norris said. “When I checked over my shoulder and saw that I had a little clearance and I figured I committed so I had to push all the way to the line.”
Scott and Caitlin Patterson are siblings who both made the trek to South Korea as Olympians last year. Two more Olympians fared well in the men’s race, with 34-year-old Brian Gregg placing sixth (1:19:42.3) and 38-year-old New Hampshire skier Kris Freeman finishing 12th (1:20:06.2). Craftsbury Green Racing Project skier Adam Martin (fifth, 1:19:42.3) edged Gregg and Stratton’s Patrick Caldwell (seventh, 1:19:42.3) in a photo finish.
Woodstock graduate Zane Fields placed 23rd (1:21:48.3) and his brother Jordan was 34th (1:23:39.6). Other skiers with local ties include Craftsbury’s Akeo Maifeld-Carucci (10th, 1:20:03.4), Middlebury College’s Lewis Nottonson (26th, 1:22:19.8) and UVM’s Finn O’Connell (29th, 1:22:57.7) Burlington brothers Henry Harmeyer (50th, 1:25:25.6) and Bill Harmeyer (53rd, 1:26:16.6) also raced for UVM.
National championships will conclude Tuesday with 1.5k freestyle sprints.