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NORDIC SKIING

Nordic Skiing: With a bronze medal in a World Cup classic sprint race, Anchorage’s Rosie Brennan meets a couple of goals

by | Mar 12, 2024 | Cover Story, Nordic Skiing

Anchorage’s Rosie Brennan (right) on the podium. Photo by U.S. Ski & Snowboard

From skiing in front of a raucous crowd in Oslo to checking off a pair of bucket-list goals in Drammen, it’s been a memorable couple of days in Norway for Anchorage skier Rosie Brennan.

Brennan claimed her first World Cup medal since early January and her fifth individual podium finish of the season by grabbing third place in a classic sprint race Tuesday on the main street of Drammen, a city of about 65,000.

Three days earlier, Brennan earned a piece of history by placing 15th in the first World Cup 50-kilometer race for women. Tens of thousands of fans turned Saturday into a party that provided steady work for a Red Cross station, which tended to a reported 130 spectators ages 16-20 for injuries and intoxication, according to the Reuters news agency.

Brennan shook off fatigue from the 50K — six laps in Oslo’s famous Holmenkollen ski area, adding up to 31 miles and 6,000 feet of climbing — to climb Tuesday’s podium to collect her first career medal in a classic sprint.

It was her best result since a second-place showing in a pursuit race in early January.

“Maybe I need to do a 50K warmup all the time,” Brennan said in a report from U.S. Skiing and Snowboarding.

“Honestly, I’m a bit surprised. I felt really bad yesterday. … You never know what the body will do,” she added.

Brennan skied the third-fastest qualifying time in the morning, and then advanced through the heats, gaining a spot in the six-woman final as a lucky loser. She surged to third place in the final stretch of the 1.2-kilometer race, placing behind Norway’s Kristine Skistad and Sweden’s Linn Svahn.

It was Brennan’s first sprint medal since 2020, and it came in a race that produced some bucket-list moments for the 36-year-old.

The finish line in Drammen, Norway. Photo by U.S. Ski & Snowboard

According to U.S. Skiing and Snowboarding, Brennan made it a goal at the start of her World Cup career — which began in the 2012-13 season — to wear every race bib numbering from No. 1 to No. 50.

On Tuesday, in her 228th World Cup start, she wore bib No. 3 to complete her collection.

By making the podium, she reached another goal — winning a medal in all four of her sport’s disciplines: classic sprint, freestyle sprint, classic distance and freestyle distance.

Brennan’s big day included some important results from two of her Alaska Pacific University teammates.

In the men’s sprint, APU’s JC Schoonmaker placed sixth and Zanden McMullen posted a career-best 17th-place finish.

Schoonmaker reached the six-man finals for the first time since his monumental medal-winning effort at a December sprint race in Sweden. Schoonmaker, who won a bronze medal in Sweden, has finished seventh twice since then but didn’t make it back to the finals until Tuesday.

Anchorage’s Gus Schumacher. Photo by U.S. Ski & Snowboard

“It feels great to be back in the finals, just to know I can be in there,” he told U.S. Skiing and Snowboarding. “For sure I would’ve loved to put up more of a fight at the end, but it’s some pretty fast guys in there and they don’t make it easy.

“(I) was glad to feel like I was making smart choices and being active mentally during the heats.”

McMullen placed 17th for his best finish in a World Cup race.

It’s been a great season for McMullen, a 22-year-old in his first World Cup season. He has scored points via top-30 results in several races, and before Tuesday his career-best performances were a pair of 23rd-place finishes in distance races.

The men’s sprint victory went to Norway’s Johannes Klaebo, who won for the second time in three days. On Sunday, he led a 1-2-3-4-5 finish for Norway in the men’s 50K in Oslo.

Anchorage’s Scott Patterson finished 25th, two minutes behind Klaebo, to lead the Americans. Anchorage’s Gus Schumacher was the next American in 28th place, 42 seconds behind Patterson.

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Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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