Team USA Holiday Wrap-Up

By Tom Robinson | Jan. 02, 2013, 11:12 a.m. (ET)
Kikkan RandallKikkan Randall wins the freestyle sprint World Cup in Quebec City.

Kikkan Randall began 2013 the same way she left 2012 — by scoring a victory.

The two-time Olympic cross country skier led qualifying by almost five seconds then won all three of her heats Tuesday in Val Mustair, Switzerland, to win for the second time in three Tour de Ski starts in freestyle sprint.

The New Year’s Day effort, which came in her first competition since her 30th birthday the day before, allowed Randall to climb from 14th to fifth in the overall Tour de Ski standings.

“I used to dream of the skier that I would be when I turned 30, and I’m happy that I have lived up to my expectations,” Randall said.

Randall won each heat Tuesday by at least 3.4 seconds.

The cross country skiing competition moves next to Italy. Three of the seven stages remain in the tour, which is conducted over five sites in three countries. Randall won the 3k freestyle prologue Saturday in Oberhof, Germany, to begin the Tour de Ski.

FREESTYLE SKIING

Olympian Heather McPhie won for the second time in as many FIS Freestyle World Cup dual moguls races this season with a Dec. 22 victory in Kreischberg, Austria.

Teammate Heidi Kloser followed McPhie with a career-best, second-place finish. Olympic medalist Bryon Wilson returned to the podium for the first time in two years with the men’s title. Wilson, who was sidelined by a knee injury in 2011, posted his first career World Cup win.

ALPINE SKIING

Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup City Event, a head-to-head slalom competition in Munich on New Year’s Day.

Shiffrin joined Lindsey Vonn and Mancuso in the top 10 of the Alpine World Cup overall standings after finishing a career-best eighth in the giant slalom Friday at Semmering, Austria. Shiffrin was following up her first career win, in the slalom, Dec. 20 in Are, Sweden.

Travis Ganong had a career-best, seventh-place finish in the Alpine World Cup race Saturday in Bormio, Italy.

SPEEDSKATING

Olympians Maria Lamb and Jonathan Kuck won allround point titles while Heather Richardson turned in record-breaking performances on the way to the sprint title during the U.S. Long Track National Championships, a five-day event that concluded Monday in Kearns, Utah. Mitch Whitmore won the men’s sprint point title. 

 “I’ve won it twice before, but both times some of the top girls didn’t skate the 5K,” Lamb said. “This is the first time I’ve been allround champion when everyone skated the final distance, so it’s the first time I actually felt like I won it.”

Lamb closed Monday with a victory by more than 10 seconds in the 5000 meters.

Jilleanne Rookard and Petra Acker finished second and third overall among the women.

Kuck was followed by 16-year-old Emery Lehman and Patrick Meek.

“It’s hard to say which is the hardest race,” said Kuck, who finished with a 10K win Monday. “The 5K is hard in a different way, the 1,500 meters is hard in a different way. It’s just a different kind of effort you have to put in for each race.”

Meanwhile, Richardson set national records on consecutive straight days.

After setting a national record of 37.51 in the first 500-meter race Friday, Richardson came back with 37.34 in the second 500-meter race for a time that was also the best in the world this year. She broke Chris Witty’s 10-year-old record with a 1:13.52 finish Saturday in the 1000 meters. Richardson then set a mark of 1:53.84 in the 1500 meters Sunday.

“It’s just a confidence wave,” Richardson said.

Richardson, along with Brittany Bowe and Sugar Todd, made the World Sprint and Winter World Cup team.

Whitmore won the men’s sprint title over Jonathan Garcia and Clay Cholewinski. Whitmore and Garcia made the U.S. team for the World Sprint Championships.

Earlier, J.R. Celski and Lana Gehring won overall titles at the U.S. Short Track National Championships that concluded Dec. 22 at the Utah Olympic Oval. The title was Gehring’s second in a row.

“I’m extremely ecstatic about my results and I was happy I was able to show that I’m back on top again,” Gehring said.

Chris Creveling and Jeff Simon finished second and third behind Celski. Emily Scott and Alyson Dudek were second and third behind Gehring.

The Short Track National Championships also determine the U.S. World Cup team.

Celski, Creveling, Simon, Eddy Alvarez, Kyle Carr and Travis Jayner made the men’s team. Gehring, Scott, Dudek, Sarah Chen, Jessica Smith and Kimberly Derrick made the women’s team.

“I trained really hard coming back from double knee surgery and I had expectations and I succeeded so it’s very satisfying,” said Alvarez, who made the World Cup team for the first time. “I have a goal to make it to Sochi in 2014 and that work starts right now, so it’s going to be a building process for me.”

ICE HOCKEY

The United States roared into the semifinals of the IIHF World Junior Championships with a 7-0 rout of the Czech Republic early Wednesday morning in Ufa, Russia.

John Gaudreau had a hat trick in the win, which sets up a Thursday morning semifinal against Canada.

The United States went 2-2 to finish third out of five teams in Group A and reach the quarterfinals.

After opening the tournament with an 8-0 rout of Germany, the United States suffered back-to-back 2-1 losses to Canada and Russia. Team USA qualified for the medal round when Gaudreau and Vince Trocheck scored two goals each in Monday’s 9-3 victory over Slovakia.

Jake McCabe, Gaudreau, Mike Reilly and Jacob Trouba scored in a nine-minute stretch of the first period for a 5-1 lead. Trouba has a team-high four goals in the tournament.

Gaudreau, Trocheck and Jimmy Vesey each finished with three assists.

Elsewhere, the United States advanced into Friday’s semifinals having not been scored upon in three games at the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championships in Finland. Katherine Schipper had two goals and Sidney Peters stopped 10 shots in Tuesday’s 8-0 win over Sweden. The United States started with a 7-0 win against Russia, and then defeated the Czech Republic, 10-0.

The United States beat three different Canadian regional squads to begin play at the World Under-17 Challenge in Victoriaville, Quebec. The United States finished pool play with a game against Slovakia Wednesday. The semifinals and finals are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

CYCLING

Katie Compton and Logan Owen each produced victories and then followed them up with second-place finishes.

Compton posted her fourth UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup victory of the season Dec. 23 in Namur, Belgium. The win in the Elite Women’s division allowed Compton to extend her season points lead in the UCI World Cup women’s rankings.

Meredith Miller was 11th, Amy Dombroski 14th, Nicole Duke 18th and Crystal Anthony 19th. Jonathan Page finished 15th in the Elite Men’s race.

Owen won by more than two minutes and Chris White was second in the Soudal Classic Citadelle de Namur Junior Men’s race.

Compton and Owen then had second-place finishes at the Cyclo-cross World Cup event in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, Dec. 26.

TABLE TENNIS

Lily Zhang needed all seven games to defeat fellow American Ariel Hsing in a meeting of London 2012 Olympians in the women’s singles final at the U.S. National Table Tennis Championships, which concluded Dec. 22 in Las Vegas.

Timothy Wang, another London Olympian, won the men’s singles title. 

There were a total of 781 entrants competing for 64 titles in the five-day event. Wang won three major titles. He teamed with Hsing for the mixed doubles title and Han Xiao for the men’s doubles title. Jun Gao and Erica Wu won the women’s doubles title.

BIATHLON

U.S. Biathlon announced the rosters for the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships following trials in Mt. Itasca, Minn., Friday through Sunday.

The Youth/Junior World Championships are scheduled for Jan. 25-Feb. 1 in Obertilliach, Austria.

The selections were: Junior Men, Casey Smith and Jake Dalberg; Junior Women, Tara Geraghty-Moats; Youth Women, Anna Kubek, Aleksandra Zakrzewska, Mikaela Paluszek; Youth Men, Sean Doherty, Jordan McElroy, Jakob Ellingson, Brian Halligan.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org. Material from various news services and press releases from National Governing Bodies was used to compile this report. This story was not subject to the approval of any National Governing Bodies.

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