WANAKA, New Zealand (11 September, 2016) – Three days of racing ended at Snow Farm near Wanaka today with national champions crowned and final placing in this season’s FIS Cross-Country Skiing Australia New Zealand Continental (ANC) Cup decided.
This morning’s FIS ANC Freestyle Interval Start 10km men’s and 5km women’s races were won by Simi Hamilton and Liz Stephen of the US Nordic Ski Team. It completed a successful weekend for the American squad during their Wanaka-based training camp.
Liz Stephen said getting back on the snow was one of the most positive aspects of their stay.
“We can get as fit as we want in the summer on roller-skis but it doesn’t transfer exactly and the technique work here for me has been really important,” she said.
Simi Hamilton said it had been great to put on a race bib.
“This time of year it’s important to remind yourself how to prepare for a race mentally and how to attack during it. So it was great to be out there and think about pacing and hurting really bad. It’s good to revisit that at this time of year so we can be ready for the [northern hemisphere] winter,” he said.
“It was a beautiful day and the organisation was great, the volunteers were awesome so we were psyched.”
Korean athletes Cho Yong Jin and Hwang Jun Ho took second and third respectively in the men’s race. Their teammate Lee Chae Won finished second in the women’s race ahead of Australian Aimee Watson.
It was Australia’s first podium finish of the weekend and helped secured Watson second place overall in the season’s ANC races on both sides of the Tasman. Her teammate Katerina Paul took top spot overall with Mary Rose of the USA in third.
The men’s overall standings were an all-Australian affair with Phillip Bellingham taking the title ahead of Mick Montgomery (2nd) and Jackson Bursill (3rd).
The New Zealand national championship for the freestyle discipline followed the international races. Members of the local Waiorau Nordic Sports Club and Wanaka Biathlon Club were again prominent on the start lists.
The Open Women’s race was won by visiting German biathlete Kat Heiland ahead of New Zealanders Kat Nicholson and Mary Lee, founder and trustee of Snow Farm. Olivia Jones and Hana Jones repeated their respective Under-18 and Under-12 wins from yesterday’s Classic race.
Connor Gray, an overseas student at Otago University originally from Maine, USA, won the Men’s Open race with well-known Kiwi multisporters Nat Anglem second and Keith Murray third.
Wanaka’s Campbell Wright edged Louis Jones in the Under-18 race in a reverse of yesterday’s Classic placings. Campbell’s brother Daniel took the Under-12s title to match his win yesterday.
Results for all races will be posted on the event page of the Snow Farm website at www.snowfarmnz.com
with the ANC results also posted on the FIS website at www.fis-ski.com
Image: NZ National Championship Freestyle girls' under-12 podium (L to R): Zoe Nicholson and Hana Jones with medal presenter Ella Lawton of Queenstown Lakes District Council (credit - Snow Farm NZ).