Alaskan skiers win national championships in men's and women's freestyle sprints

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - It's been good to be an Alaska athlete at the 2018 U.S. National Cross Country Ski Championships, with Alaskans taking the titles in all the senior events so far.

Anchorage local Caitlin Patterson took the women's freestyle sprint race, winning handily with a time of 3 minutes and 20 seconds over Jasmi Joensuu. This is Patterson's second win at this year's championships.

"This one was really incredible,"Patterson said with a grin. "The other one, I go into a distance race knowing that I kind of have control over it, I can push myself to a limit, but sprint racing is so different."

In the men's race, favorite Reese Hanneman came in third in the qualifier and was looking to add another national championship to his resume. He did so right at the end, winning with a time of 3:11.33, just milliseconds ahead of Kevin Bolger .

"It's a huge blessing to be able to deliver, on a day like this," Hanneman said. "I try not to put too much pressure on myself to do it, but it's awesome to be able to come through and just a perfect day of skiing."

The championships continue on Sunday, Jan. 7, and finish up on Jan. 8.

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