A Tough Day in Sweden, Germany and the USA

Across the board the Australians racing this weekend had a tough day. Fierce competition combined with relative fatigue from training or racing blocks led to many high aiming Australian athletes falling down the results list.

In Sweden Callum Watson and Phil Bellingham raced in the 15km skate Scandinavian Cup. Callum finished 106th and Phil 154th out of a field of 177 starters. Callum’s results was solid as he was within 10% of the winner’s time however it is a little off what Callum has achieved in the past and what he is capable of achieving.

“Today was tricky with fast, hard and icy conditions. To ski technically well was a real challenge but I think I managed to see some improvements there which was a positive. Unfortunately I have been feeling run-down all week and the feeling in my body was absolutely terrible. The result therefore was not great but a lot better than I thought it would be considering how non-energetic I felt. Hopefully some good races to come in the following weeks once I’m back to feeling fresh again!” – Callum Watson.

Callum had not raced since the 14th December which is almost a month ago. Since then he has been training hard so as to put himself in perfect shape later in the season. His plan will be to build his form up as he begins his second racing block which will run from this weekend through World Univeristy Winter Games to World Championships in late February.

For the boys in Germany the day was similarily tough as frozen rain at -1 degree made the waxing tough and the going slow in the classic sprint OPA Cup. From this Nick Montgomery was able to pull out a pretty good classic sprint finishing in 61st out of the 64. Although still towards the back of the field this is Nick’s best results in his least preferred event and a sign that his form may be improving.

“Despite classic sprinting being my least favourite discipline, I actually enjoyed today, held on a fairly long course. I skied fairly smoothly, and was pleased to notch up my best FIS points in a classic sprint overseas. The race was held in classic Oberwiesenthal weather, -1 and cloudy (the freezing rain had stopped), with a pretty strong wind blowing through the stadium.” – Nick Montgomery.

Jackson Bursill also raced but struggled to find grip and finished in 63rd.

Across the Atlantic the five Australian’s competing in the USA Cross Country Championships where racing in a mass start classic. Depending on your age and gender depended on the distance with junior girls racing 5km, senior girls 20km and senior men 30km. Seperating the juniors and seniors led to smaller fields.

Jessica Yeaton was the highest finishing Australian in 15th place in the senior women. This is a solid result for Jessica however with her standard of result being raised to top 5 and top 10 in the previous two events it seem a little off her best. In saying that 15th in this standard of event is still an amazing achievement. Casey Wright raced the same event and finished in 39th out of the 61 starters whilst Kat Paul raced the junior 5km event and finished in 45th out of 74 starters.

In the men’s event Paul Kovacs finished in 59th and Mark Pollock in 76th capping off the tough day for Australia.

Results

Scandinavian Cup, Sweden – 15km skate

  1. Matti Heikkinen, FIN, 34:27.7
  2. Anders Gloeersen, NOR, 34:34.4
  3. Finn Haagen Krogh, NOR, 34:37.9
  1. Callum Watson, AUS, 37:50.8

157. Phil Bellingham, AUS, 40:11.0

177 starters.

OPA Cup, Germany – Classic Sprint

  1. Baptiste Gros, FRA, 3:51.93
  2. Fabian Schaad, SUI, 3:57.83
  3. Josef Wenzl, GER, 3:57.93

61. Nick Montgomery, AUS, 4:40.02

63. Jackson Bursill, AUS, 4:55.39

64 starters.

USA Cross Country Skiing Championships

 Senior Women 20km classic Mass start

  1. Rosie Brennan, USA, 1:10:42.4
  2. Caitlin Patterson, USA, 1:10:47.9
  3. Eliska Hajkova, CZE, 1:10:50.9

15. Jessica Yeaton, AUS, 1:13:28.8

39. Casey Wright, AUS, 1:18:44.1

61 starters.

Senior Men 30km classic Mass start

  1. Kris Freeman, USA, 1:31:14.8
  2. Alexander Trienen, USA, 1:31:18.5
  3. Kyle Bratrud, USA, 1:31:18.9

59. Paul Kovacs, AUS, 1:42:42.4

76. Mark Pollock, AUS, 1:49:09.8

83 starters.

Junior Women 5km classic Mass start

  1. Katharine Ogden, USA, 15:35.8
  2. Julia Kern, USA, 15:52.7
  3. Hailey Swirbul, USA, 15:57.3
  1. Kat Paul, AUS, 17:48.2

74 starters

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