Skip navigation
www.tokous.com

Bratrud and Gregg take 15K/10K Freestyle titles

Mon, Jan  5, 2015 - By USSA

HOUGHTON, MI (Jan. 4, 2015) - With temperatures in the single digits, fresh snow and blowing winds, the conditions at the Michigan Tech Trails in Houghton, Michigan played a big role in sorting out the first winners of the week long U.S. Cross Country Championships. Titles in the 15k and 10k freestyle event went to Kyle Bratrud (Eden Prairie, MN) and Olympian Caitlin Gregg (Minneapolis).

Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg) and Rosie Brennan (APU) battle the cold and blowing conditions at the U.S. Cross Country Championships.

Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg) and Rosie Brennan (APU) battle the cold and blowing conditions at the U.S. Cross Country Championships.

The opening races saw a few unexpected forces, none so surprising as Northern Michigan University skier, Kyle Bratrud, a 21-year-old from Eden Prarie, MN.

“My goal coming into today was to get a top ten,” Bratrud explained. “Coming from NMU, I ski this course all the time and I know it pretty well and I was excited when I saw this snow.”

Bratrud led early, putting in thirty seconds over his closest rivals in the first 7.5 kilometers. Veteran racer Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) overcame a slow start to ski into second place. Dartmouth skier Patrick Caldwell (Lyme, NH) skied smoothly into third place, a tenth of second in front of Sun Valley skier Matt Gelso for the final podium position.

In the women’s race, Gregg, fresh off the period one World Cup schedule, returned to take the 10k event handily. “It feels absolutely great to come back to the U.S. and race so well at the national championships. The race today was hard and I had to fight the whole way! I am so grateful for the awesome support from the U.S. Ski Team while I was over in Europe this fall on the World Cup.”

Gregg used up-tempo skiing establish a lead early over the slow snow. Chelsea Holmes (Girdwood, AK), skiing for the APU Nordic program, skied to a second place finish over her APU teammate, Rosie Brennan (Park City, UT) who caught a ride with Gregg.

“The race was quite tough,” Holmes described. “The nature of the course and the cold snow meant there was no rest out there. I am happy with the effort I gave, it was a great way to kick off the week!”

The conditions will continue to play into racing this week in Houghton. Monday’s scheduled classic sprint has been moved to Wednesday in light of a weather forecast calling for cold temperatures and wind chill nearing – 25F.

Kyle Bratrud proudly waves his NMU flag after winning the 15k freestyle at the U.S. Cross Country Championships. (Andrew Gardner)

Kyle Bratrud proudly waves his NMU flag after winning the 15k freestyle at the U.S. Cross Country Championships. (Andrew Gardner)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kyle Bratrud, racing for Northern Michigan University, won the opening 15k freestyle event over Kris Freeman by nearly 50 seconds. Bratrud’s best previous finish at a U.S. Championship was 26th.
  • Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) finished second over Patrick Caldwell (Lyme, NH) skiing for Dartmouth College.
  • Caitlin Gregg (Minneapolis, MN) racing for Loppet Nordic Racing won today’s 10K freestyle event.
  • Chelsea Holmes (Girdwood, AK) and Rosie Brennan (Park City, UT) both of the APU Nordic Program finished second and third respectively.
  • Today’s racing was bitterly cold and slow with gusting winds and snowfall playing a big part in the race outcome.

QUOTES

Kyle Bratrud

My goal coming into today was to get a top ten, to do this was really amazing. I couldn’t be happier.

Coming from NMU, I ski this course all the time and I know it pretty well and I was excited when I saw this snow. The cold and slow conditions are better for me being lighter.

I’m setting my sights on the U23 Championships, a top ten there, a top fifteen is possible, I believe.

Caitlin Gregg

It feels absolutely great to come back to the U.S. and race so well at the national championships. The race today was hard and I had to fight the whole way! I am so grateful for the awesome support from the U.S. Ski Team while I was over in Europe this fall on the World Cup I was able to bring what I learned back here for my own race but also to share with my teammates, coaches and staff with Loppet Nordic Racing. Nothing is better than having your training partners and friends have their best days as well!

Chelsea Holmes

The race was quite tough, the nature of the course and the cold snow meant there was no rest out there. I am happy with the effort I gave, it was a great way to kick off the week!

RESULTS