Alaskans medal at U.S. X-C ski championships

Posted: Sunday, January 04, 2004

RUMFORD, Maine - Two-time Olympian Carl Swenson, returning to the course where he skied as a youngster, won his ninth U.S. cross-country title Saturday at Black Mountain. Three Alaska skiers finished in the medals.

On the first day of the U.S. Cross Country Championships, Swenson finished the four-lap 30-kilometer race in 1 hour, 16 minutes, 49.1 seconds. Lars Flora of Anchorage another 2002 Olympian, was second in 1:17.49.5, and Chad Giese of St. Paul, Minn., finished third.

"I know these hills," said Swenson, who lives in Boulder, Colo., but grew up in North Conway, N.H. Last season, he won three U.S. titles on the same course.

"I don't know what it is but I'm comfortable here. And when I heard the forecast, snow mixed with rain, I thought it was perfect for me."

Rebecca Dussault of Gunnison, Colo., won the women's two-lap 15-kilometer classic race in 46:22.1. Wendy Wagner of Anchorage and Park City, Utah, was second in 47:42.1, and Aubrey Smith of Seward was third at 48:53.6. The championships end Jan. 11.

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