APU’s Brennan, UAA’s Schoonmaker reach cross-country team sprint finals at Olympics
BEIJING, China (KTUU) - Alaska Pacific University skier Rosie Brennan was tapped by Team USA to team up with Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins in the women’s team sprint classic final early Wednesday morning, the same event in which Alaska’s Kikkan Randall won gold with Diggins at the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, which was a freestyle discipline.
The team sprint relay features two skiers tagging off to each other for three laps each and six total.
Though they were big ski boots to fill, Brennan impressed, sitting in third place when she handed off to Diggins for the sixth and final lap. However, the U.S. could not maintain its pace, falling to fifth place overall. Brennan has now placed fourth in the individual sprint, fifth in the team sprint and sixth in the team distance relay at the Beijing games. Germany took home gold, Sweden finished with the silver and the Russian Olympic Committee rounded out the medal podium.
The men’s event featured current University of Alaska Anchorage skier JC Schoonmaker of California. Teamed up with Ben Ogden of Vermont, the U.S. men’s team sprinted their way through qualifications, the quarterfinals, the semifinals and all the way to the final round, where they placed ninth overall. This is Schoonmaker’s first Olympic appearance as he will soon turn his attention towards the NCAA National Championships.
Seawolves alum Casey Wright partnered with Jessica Yeaton, a South Anchorage graduate, to represent Australia, placing eighth out of 11 in the women’s first semifinal race, good for 16th overall in the field of 26 teams.
Brennan will compete in the women’s 30 kilometer mass start freestyle at 9:30 p.m. AKST Saturday, while the men’s 50K event is scheduled for 9 p.m. AKST Friday. Both races will be the final cross-country events of the Olympic Games.
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