Max Kluck.jpg

Max Kluck of the Bridger Ski Foundation competes at the U.S. Cross Country Nationals at Soldier Hollow, Utah. 

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This year's U.S. Nationals at Soldier Hollow, Utah, was a breakthrough event for the Bridger Ski Foundation Nordic Pro Team.

It was the first national championship event for the nine-member team, led by coach Andy Newell, and they came away with 12 top-10 performances over four competitions, including three podiums.

Logan Diekmann finished second in the skate sprint, less than two seconds behind JC Shoonmaker, the US Ski Team's top sprinter (ranked 11th in World Cup standings). The BSF Pro Team women fared extremely well in both distance races, proving they are one of the strongest teams in the country.

"Any time we can put three individuals in the top 10 from the same team, it's a successful day,” Newell said. “It's a great display of our team depth and how far we've come in the past year." 

Mariah Bredal stormed to a third-place finish in the 10k classic, with Erika Flowers just behind her in fourth and Hannah Rudd in ninth.

During the final day of competition in the classic sprint, Rudd and Lauren Jortberg finished third and fourth, respectively.  

"Mariah's third was a gutsy performance and a first career national podium," Newell said. "Erika had her best career 10k classic, and Lauren continued to show she is capable of World Cup qualifying. Hannah Rudd was also a standout for the week. She was so consistent in every race so to finish with a podium in the classic sprint was incredible."

In addition to the Pro Team, 20 junior athletes on the BSF Nordic Competitive & PG teams competed, testing themselves against the top skiers in the country.

Nationals gives athletes crucial points towards qualifying for World Cup events, the Olympics and international junior championships. 

Max Kluck had a standout freestyle sprint qualifier, finishing ninth among the senior men as a junior skier. Between that and his other races, Kluck was named to represent the U.S. in the U18 Nordic Nations Trip to Norway at the end of this month.

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