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Rosie Brennan, Johnny Hagenbuch Lead Strong Ski Chase
Monday, January 17, 2022


With possible Olympic team berths on the line, 450 of the top Nordic skiers in the West showed up on World Cup-like race courses at Lake Creek this weekend for the Sun Valley Nordic Invitational.

The races, hosted by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, were an opportunity for some to show the U.S. Ski Team what they’re made of before officials choose the Nordic Olympic team today. They were a chance for younger skiers to earn spots at Junior Nationals. And they were an opportunity for  college ski teams to duke it out.

Hometown favorite Johnny Hagenbuch decisively won a 15-kilometer skate ski race on Saturday but ran out of gas after starting out strong in the Men’s Classic race Sunday.

Meanwhile, 2018 Olympian Rosie Brennan easily captured the Women’s 5K freestyle race on Saturday. Then she jumped off to a quick lead, quickly establishing a wide gap between herself and her closest competitors in the Classic Women’s 10K on Sunday.

She sailed across the finish line before anyone else had even come into the race arena.

“I wanted to practice going out hard because I know that’s what it’s going to be like at the Olympics,” said Brennan, following Sunday’s Classic win. “Honestly, when you’re so far ahead, it becomes such a mental game. I just kept thinking Olympics all the way.”

Brennan, who grew up in Park City and has trained at the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center, has found success on the world stage. A two-time World Cup winner and four-time U.S. champion, she was the first American to hold the overall World Cup leader’s bib, the World Cup sprint leader’s bib and World Cup distance leader’s bib at the same time.

She took part in the Sun Valley Nordic Invitational after World Cup races in France were cancelled because of the pandemic.

“I’d been training in Park City and my coach was here with my team so I decided it’d be nice to train with my coach in a little mini-Olympic training camp,” she said.

Brennan said she has no idea what to expect at the 2022 Winter Olympics scheduled to begin Feb. 4 in Beijing.

“No one has seen the courses. No one has been there. It's a mystery. All I know is it’s at altitude so it’s good to come to a place like Sun Valley and train at altitude,” she said.

As Sun Valley Community School graduate Johnny Hagenbuch took his place in the starting gate Sunday morning, his father Jay Hagenbuch took his place on top of Coach’s Climb, one of several long climbs that racers had to negotiate over four laps. Johnny’s mother Kim took her place closer to the starting and finish line.

The two have attended more than 70 of Johnny’s races since he became serious about competing, going everywhere until the pandemic restricted access.

On Saturday they watched their son leave the starting gate one minute behind one of his closest competitors in a staggered start. By the second lap he had overtaken that competitor, going on to beat him by 45 seconds.

Hagenbuch’s hopes were buoyed again Sunday morning as he watched his son get a big jump on the other racers in the mass Classic start.

“Go, Johnny, Go!” he urged his son on as the 20-year-old scooted up the hill in the tracks, then ripped down Torin’s Tucker at approximately 30 miles per hour. But young Hagenbuch fell back after two laps as a strong team from Alaska Pacific Nordic Ski Center, an Olympic training center, claimed all three steps on the podium.

“He’s gassed,” Jay Hagenbuch shook his head as he watched his son make his final climb of the race.


Men’s 10K (141 participants)

  1. Johnny Hagenbuch, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation 26 minutes, 15.4 seconds
  2. Hunter Wonders, APU Nordic Ski Center 26.28.7
  3. Bernhard Flaschberger, University of Denver 26:42.5

10. Peter Wolter, SVSEF, 27:20:8

12. Karl Schulz, SVSEF 27:31.9

29. Peter Holmes, SVSEF 28:25.1

82. Galen Grohusky, SVSEF 32:02.5

112. Archie Holden, SVSEF 34:29.6

124. Dylan Prabowo, SVSEF 35:34.7

Women’s 5K (145 participants)

  1. Rosie Brennan, APU Nordic Ski Center 14:28.6
  2. Sophia Laukli, University of Utah 15:17.2
  3. Novie McCabe, University of Utah 15:19.1

6. Samantha Smith, SVSEF 15:56.1

7. Sydney Palmer-Leger, University of Utah 16:02.1

8. Caitlin Gregg, Team Birkie 16:09.4

20. Katie Feldman, SVSEF 16:43.8

38. Sarah Goble, SVSEF 17:17.3

47. Cora Faye Scott, SVSEF 18:04.1

54. Anja Grover, SVSEF, 18:21.1

56. Lucienne Ludwig, SVEF 18:25.0

68. Eloise Hebert, SVSEF 19:05.7

71. Anika Vandenburgh, SVSEF 19:16.5

81. Jody Willow Maguire, SVSEF 19:49.8

84. Greta Leitheiser, SVSEF 19:58.8

86. Berkeley Canfield, SVSEF 20:04.3

96. Gretel Huss, SVSEF 20:38.6

99. Aisley Grohusky, SVSEF 20:49.4

110. Gina Greenberg, SVSEF 21:44.2

112. Mazzy Conners, SVSEF 21:57.3

127. Josephine Gilman, SVSEF 23:41.5

135. Addison Blamires, SVSEF 25:40.8

138. Emma Singer, SVSEF 26:32.5

In the U16 Men’s 5K Theodore Hobbs just missed out on the podium, coming in fourth.

Josephin Renner took fourth in the U12 2K, followed by Sydney Nelson, who came in sixth.

Charlie St. George and McCAllen Campbell came in eighth and ninth in the men’s U14 3K.

 Bailey Kurtz and Jake Jacoby came in sixth and seventh in the men’s U12 2K, while Owen Wellner took tenth.

CLASSIC MEN’S 15K (139 racers)

  1. David Norris, APU Nordic Ski Center 36:50.5
  2. Hunter Wonders, APU Nordic Ski Center 36:58.5
  3. Scott Patterson APU Nordic Ski Center 36:59.0

11. Peter Wolter, SVSEF 37:43.3

16. Peter Holmes, SVSEF 38:34.7

18. Johnny Hagenbuch, SVSEF 38:40.2

41. Karl Schulz, SVSEF 40:46.9

61. Galen Grohusky, SVSEF 43:15.0

79. Archie Holden, SVSEF 45:50.8

116. Dylan Prabowo, SVSEF 53:43.4

CLASSIC WOMEN’S 10K (99 racers)

  1. Rosie Brennan, APU Nordic Ski Center 29:35.3
  2. Katharine Ogden, SMS T2 30:30.7
  3. Novie McCabe, University of Utah 30:42.9

Fifth. Sydney Palmer-Leger, University of Utah 31:02.5

8. Samantha Smith, SVSEF 32:04.2

17. Katie Feldman, SVSEF 32:37.9

22. Sarah Goble, SVSEF 33:22.2

55. Lucienne Ludwig, SVSEF 37:47.3

64. Eloise Hebert, SVSEF 39:21.7

66. Anika Vandeburgh, SVSEF 40:20.9

69. Aisley Grohusky SVSEF 40:39.8

75. Gretel Huss, SVSEF 42:10.4

82. Mia Schaffner, SVSEF 45:16.3

87. Emma Singer, SVSEF 49:40.9

Cora Faye Scott took second in the U16 5K Classic, while Berkeley Canfield took fifth.

Charlie St. George took eighth in the U14 3K.

Stella St. George took fourth in the U12 2K, while Josephine Renner took fifth; Sydney Nelson, seventh, and Emerson Lyle, eighth.

Jake Jacoby took seventh in the U12 2K, while Bailey Kurtz took eighth.



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