Diggins Wins 10k Skate in Gällivare
The FIS Cross Country World Cup made its way to northern Sweden for the first time in over a decade and Jessie Diggins of the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team took home her 15th career World Cup victory and her second podium of the season.
It was a strong day for the U.S. women's team, with five in the top 30. Diggins finished first, Rosie Brennan tied for sixth, Sophia Laukli 13th, Julia Kern 18th and Novie McCabe 29th. Alayna Sonnesyn crossed the finish line in 40th.
The last time the World Cup was held in Gällivare was in 2012 when Diggins was only 21 years old and one of the youngest athletes on the team. On the same course, history was made, when Diggins anchored the historic women’s relay that included her then-teammates, Kikkan Randall, Holly Brooks and Liz Stephen. It was the first time in history that the U.S. landed on team podium. Over a decade later, Diggins now 32, is back on top of the Gällivare podium, leading a strong team of young Americans in the process.
"It was so cool to see all my teammates having great races, too," said Diggins. "We once again had amazing skis thanks to our techs! They put their heart and soul into our skis and my teammates put their heart and soul into their race, and that is what matters."
The 10k course is no easy feat, with two challenging laps, 52 athletes out on course, over 1,140ft of climbing and extremely technical downhills. Throughout the time checks, Diggins never lost the lead. At 8.9k, Diggins had over 20 seconds on Sweden's Ebba Andersson, who ultimately finished the race in second.
Brennan was consistently in the top five throughout each time check and crossed the line tied for sixth with Lotta Udnes Weng of Norway.
"It was a pretty good day," said Brennan. "I'm generally in a good place right now and am enjoying each day. I'm also really thankful that I get the opportunity to race every weekend!"
For Laukli, another top 15 is a testament to a strong summer of training and trail running. Over the summer, Laukli won the Golden Trail Series overall, cementing herself as one of the strongest trail runners in the world. Pair a distance race with lots of climbing - Laukli will use that to her advantage. Today she ended the 10k in 13th.
For the men, Gus Schumacher led the team for the second weekend in a row and crossed the finish line in 16th, adding another top-30 result to his roster. Ben Ogden was close behind in 25th, Scott Patterson 35th, Zanden McMullen 36th, John Steel Hagenbuch 45th, Luke Jager 54th and Zak Ketterson 58th.
At the end of the day, Diggins now has 15 individual World Cup victories to her name and 49 overall World Cup podiums. With a strong start to the 2023-24 season, Diggins is focused on taking it race by race.
"I wasn't focused on results or time or beating anyone, I was just trying to ski this course as best as I could," said Diggins.
Up next, the team will compete in the 4x7.5k team relay tomorrow, Dec. 3. Watch LIVE on skiandsnowboard.live.