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McFadden Repeats, Wagner Notches First Gold in Sprints at U.S. Paralympic Nordic Championships.

by Mark Vosburgh

Tatyana McFadden, 2014 U.S. Paralympic sprint champion shown racing in yesterday's 10 K event.

Tatyana McFadden, 2014 U.S. Paralympic sprint champion shown racing in yesterday’s 10 K event.  Photo Victor Henderson

 

With less than 25 days on snow in her ski career, world class wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden can boast of two nordic skiing national championships.

Women's sit-ski sprint podium.  Tatyana McFadden (1), Oksana Masters (2), Monica Bascia (3)

Women’s sit-ski sprint podium. Tatyana McFadden (1), Oksana Masters (2), Monica Bascia (3).  Photo U.S. Paralympic Nordic.

McFadden won the sprint final after placing second to Oksana Masters in the qualifier at the U.S. Paralympic Nordic Championships today at Soldier Hollow, Utah.

The win is her second sprint national championship, the first coming last year on the same course in the same event.

U.S. Paralympic High Performance Nordic Director John Farra commented on McFadden’s newcomer status.  “She’s got her work cut out for her in terms of her technique … you don’t get that without lots of time on the snow.”

Farra considers his number one coaching responsibility with McFadden to be teaching her the technical skills to get around the course.   He said, “With (McFadden) being a world class endurance athlete, if we can be successful in that, the sky’s the limit.”

Second place in the event went to Oksana Masters, winner of the biathlon and long distance races at this year’s event.  Farra reported that Master was involved in a tangle with fourth place finisher Beth Requist during the finals.

The bronze medal went Monica Bascio.  Bascio is a two time Winter Paralympic cross country skier (2004 Torino and 2010 Vancouver).  She is also a world champion and 2012 London Paralympic medalist in hand cycling.

Farra said of Bascio, who won silver in the women’s distance race, “Monica has been skiing for quite a while and switched to hand cycling.  Now she is coming back to skiing, so it’s not a surprise that she came here and skied very well.  It’s great to have her in the mix.”

In the men’s sprint, newcomer Jeremy Wagner won his first national championship, edging out Winter Paralympic veterans Sean Halsted (silver) and Andy Soule (bronze).

Jeremy Wagner 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sprint National Champion Soldier Hollow, Utah

Jeremy Wagner 2014 U.S. Paralympic sprint national champion Soldier Hollow, Utah.  Photo Victor Henderson

Wagner who hails from the unlikely state of Hawaii, placed second in the qualifier and won his semifinal race.

Men's sit-ski sprint podium.  Jeremy Wagner (1), Sean Halsted (2), Andy Soule (3)

Men’s sit-ski sprint podium. Jeremy Wagner (1), Sean Halsted (2), Andy Soule (3).   Photo U.S. Paralympic Nordic.

Wagner is having a strong national championship event, winning bronze in the biathlon and placing fourth in the 15 K sit-ski race.

Both Farra and U.S. Biathlon Coach Rob Rosser singled out Wagner’s strong showing.  Rosser said, “Jeremy is skiing fast and shooting well.”  Wagner was the only athlete to shoot cleanly in the biathlon.

Farra commented, “Jeremy Wagner is really moving up right now, and his skiing … is really impressive.”

Complete Results

Racing continues Monday, January 6th with the Men’s 10 K and Women’s 5 K sit ski races.

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