Kemppel wins record 15th U.S. X-C ski title

Posted: Monday, January 08, 2001

McCALL, Idaho -- Three-time Olympian Nina Kemppel set a record with her 15th U.S. cross-country title Saturday, winning the 15-kilometer to sweep the national competition.

Kemppel, 30, of Anchorage, edged Katerina Hanusova of the Czech Republic by 1.4 seconds, completing the two-lap course at Ponderosa State Park in 39 minutes, 42.4 seconds. Norway's Unni Odegaard was third in 42.02.8.

"The 15 is nice, but I was thinking during the race, 'These are the U.S. championships,' and it definitely gave me a little extra zip," Kemppel said. "I didn't want to get beaten by a Czech or a Norwegian.

Kemppel won the 5-kilometer classic race on Thursday to tie the victory record shared by Nancy Fiddler and Martha Rockwell. On Wednesday, Kemppel opened the championships with a victory in the sprint race.

"I'm glad it's over and I'm glad I've got three days off," the Dartmouth graduate said, referring to a World Cup race Wednesday on the 2002 Olympic trails at Utah's Soldier Hollow.

"I feel quick and good. It's just a question of how quickly I can recover from these races."

Justin Wadsworth, a two-time Olympian from Bend, Ore., won his second title of the week, edging teammate Marcus Nash by a half-second in the 30K mass-start, freestyle technique race. Wadsworth finished in 1:13.56.2, with Nash 0.5 seconds back.

"This is great. I met all my goals and now I'm looking forward to these World Cups at Soldier Hollow," said Wadsworth, who also won the 10-kilometer classic race on Thursday.

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