Julia Kern raced her way to her first FIS Cross-Country World Cup medal, a bronze, in women’s sprint freestyle Saturday in Planica, Slovenia.
Kern and two-time Olympian Sophie Caldwell notched third and fourth place in Saturday’s sprint freestyle, a fast and furious 1,255-meter lap that requires tremendous bursts of energy.
Sweden’s rising star Jonna Sundling and Stina Nilsson, the 2018 Olympic champion in individual sprint, finished in first and second place, respectively, with Sundling crossing the line in 2:32.60 seconds, 0.22 faster than Nilsson. Kern wasn’t far behind, trailing Sundling by 0.79 seconds, and a mere 0.12 in front of Caldwell.
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Kern’s result is a coup for the 22-year-old Olympic hopeful, who like Caldwell is a graduate of Vermont’s Stratton Mountain School. The native of Waltham, Massachusetts, has spent four years on the U.S. team and is the reigning national champion in sprint. With Saturday’s results taken into account, Caldwell is currently fifth in the world cup sprint standings, Kern ninth.
Caldwell’s husband Simi Hamilton was 12th in Saturday’s men’s sprint race in Planica, the top U.S. finisher in the event. Kevin Bolger, 18th, and Logan Hanneman, 25th, gave Team USA three in the top 25.
Kern and Caldwell will partner up for Sunday’s team sprint in hopes of reaching the podium again.
Blythe Lawrence is a journalist based in Seattle. She has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.