(L-R) Ben Saxton, Andy Newell and Simi Hamilton line up at the start of the sprint at Snow Farm. (Snow Farm NZ)
WANAKA, New Zealand (Sep. 9, 2016) – Vermonters Ida Sargent (Orleans, VT) and Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) kicked off three days of racing with wins at the FIS Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) classic sprint.
It was a beautiful day in New Zealand, with the sun shining brightly at Snow Farm, a cross country resort in New Zealand. In the men’s race, Newell qualified fastest and maintained his lead through the finals to take the win. Ben Saxton (Lakeville, MN – SMS T2) snagged third, while Hwang Jun Ho of Korea took second place.
The women put down a clean sweep with Sargent taking the win, ahead of Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) in second and Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) in third.
(l-r) Jessie Diggins, Ida Sargent and Sophie Caldwell stand on the podium at Snow Park.
“We love coming down here and getting to race at Snow Farm,” said U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Head Coach Chris Grover. “The timing worked out really well this year because normally we’d be running our own time trials, so when a race gets organized and we get to participate in it, that’s great.”
Sargent echoed Grover's sentiments. "Yesterday was a really fun day. I love training in New Zealand!" she said after the race. "The main focus of this camp is volume so we are skiing a lot and taking advantage of the awesome wintery conditions here but it was also fun to go hard and race with my teammates. The conditions were tricky yesterday but that is good practice for what we often see on the World Cup."