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Caitlin Patterson Wins Women’s 20km CL for Hat-trick of Victories on Day 3 at 2018 U.S. XC Ski Nationals

release by the U.S. Cross Country Championships

January 08, 2018 (Anchorage, Alaska) – Following Caitlin Patterson’s (Craftsbury GRP) third national title, winning the women’s 20km CL mass start, pundits were left wondering what the talented skier from Alaska can’t do on cross-country skis. She skates across groomed trails in a flash and kicks and glides in the tracks like a freight train. She’s also got the quicks and smarts for sprints and the strength and determination to go long as she did at Kincaid Park on Sunday, day three of the 2018 L.L.Bean U.S. Cross Country Championships.

Celebrate (l-r) Jessica Yeaton, Caitlin Patterson, Rosie Frankowski [P] Michael Dinneen Photography
Even Patterson (Craftsbury Green Racing Project) didn’t have an answer after finishing as the fastest American woman in Sunday’s 20K mass start classic race – University of Colorado’s Hedda Baangman of Sweden was the race’s official winner. When asked if she expected three Nationals titles in three events, even the comfortably confident Patterson shook her head.

“This is very cool,” said Patterson, who graduated from South Anchorage High School before racing for the University of Vermont and settling in Vermont. “I wouldn’t have imagined this.”

Patterson was businesslike when she crossed the finish line almost 16 second behind Baangman’s 1:00:55.3. Patterson (1:01:11.2) had almost four seconds on third place Rosie Frankowski (APU Nordic Ski Team), the second American finisher at 1:01:14.9; Jessica Yeaton (APU), an Australian national who moved to Alaska when she was 12, was fourth overall at 1:01.39.4; and Kaitlynn Miller (Craftsbury GRP) was fifth overall and the third American finisher at 1:02:08.9.

Hedda Baangman from Sweden wins the 20k classic race [P] Michael Dinneen Photography
Miller was pleased with her finish and equally stoked for Patterson, her teammate and training buddy who continues elevating her case for a ticket to February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“It’s really exciting to come to these races (in Alaska) and watch her excel like this,” Miller said. “I train with her day in and day out, and we’re all very, very impressed.”

Frankowski, who has competed against Patterson for years, added, “I really hope they take her to the Olympics.”

After the first of four trips around a hill-heavy loop, Baangman, Patterson and Frankowski pulled away in a pack and stuck together until the race’s final big, long climb. Patterson’s chance at a third straight win slipped away as Baangman hammered that hill and Patterson slid behind on skis that were light on kick wax and legs that were burning from her busy week. After the event, Patterson paid Baangman respect for her strong finish and mean climbing skills, then talked about the grit that got her second place overall and a fifth National title.

Women's Podium Day 3 (l-r) Frankowski 2nd, Patterson 1st, Miller 3rd [P] Josh Niva

“It was more about mental toughness for me today,” said Patterson. “I was a little fatigued and it’s a long race, and I was struggling with my skis. It would have been easy to give up, but I just had this constant positive self-talk. Every moment, I believed in myself.”

Frankowski was feeling pretty darn good about herself, too, after notching the best Nationals finish of her career on a course that was lined with loud, local fans.

“This Anchorage crowd – there was never an area where people weren’t screaming for me,” she said. “I feel like I was on the World Cup!”

The day’s loop course was something of a screamer, too – a 5.28K tour of Kincaid Park’s finest and toughest trails that the women had to ski four times and the men had to complete six times. It hit Elliott’s Climb, followed by a zip up and down the Roller Coaster, then a friendly straightaway down Dark Alley, followed by a series of sharp corners and climbs in the Gong Hill area, which brought skiers back into the stadium through a tunnel for the final 2-kilometer stretch to the finish area. The course map is available at

The athletes, fans and scenery filled the venue with color. [P] Michael Dinneen Photography
The day’s mass start classic racing wrapped up with the Junior events. APU’s Hannah Halvorsen won the female 5K, followed by University of Alaska Anchorage’s Hailey Swirbul, the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks FXC’s Kendall Kramer (who is a U16 racer), Methow Valley Nordic’s Novie Mccabe (U18) and Montana State University’s Kathleen O’Connell.

This week’s races crown National champions and are also used as part of the selection process for Olympic berths and to determine roster spots on the FIS Junior World Championship, U23 Championship and U18 Scandinavian Cup teams. While primary selection for the 2018 Olympic Cross Country Team comes from World Cup races, some final spots can be determined from Nationals results. Olympic team nominations will be announced the week of January 23.

Remaining event schedule
All races at Kincaid Park; schedule subject to change; exact start times and starters lists will be determined prior to each race
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, January 8: Men’s and women’s classic sprints

Find a full schedule – race days and off-days here.

Women’s results here.

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