Rosie Brennan gets first individual classic career podium in Finland

RUKA, Finland — On Saturday, the second day of racing in Ruka, Finland, Steifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team athlete Park City’s Rosie Brennan took home her first individual classic podium in the 10k classic.

Teammate Jessie Diggins crossed the line in 11th, a career-best classic result in Ruka. 

The first World Cup races of the season can set the tone for what’s to come, and Brennan is already coming out on top. Despite having few days on snow before the first races, she showed promise in the grueling 10k classic, with two solid laps around one of the hilliest and most technical courses on the World Cup calendar.

Ruka is known for its long hills and challenging terrain. Out of the starting gate, racers descend a steep hill and immediately begin climbing another – a section referred to as the “halfpipe” – with very little room for recovery. At the 5k mark, Brennan moved into a podium spot and comfortably stayed until the finish line. When she crossed the line in front of the large Ruka crowd, Brennan was only 5.5 seconds back from first.

At the end of the day, Ebba Andersson of Sweden took home the victory with teammate Frida Karlsson in third – Brennan broke up the Swedish podium sweep in second. 

“I had really nice skis out there today, that’s for sure,” said Brennan in a post-race interview with U.S. Ski Team. “I’ve been really happy with the improvements I’ve made in classic skiing, and it all worked out today – I’m very happy with my result!” 

Brennan earned her first World Cup individual classic podium with second place and her eighth overall World Cup podium. Right behind Brennan was teammate Diggins, who crossed the line in 11th. This result is Diggins’ best classic result in Ruka, and when asked about her race, she focused on her teammate. “I was so proud of Rosie and just seeing her ski with confidence and authority like that was so beautiful,” said Diggins. “It made me really happy!” 

The University of Utah’s Novie McCabe followed Diggins with an impressive 30th place, and Gus Schumacher led the American men with 22nd place. 

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