Get willing for rock ’em, sock ’em cross-country ski action.
The U.S. Cross Country Championships take up again at Kincaid Park on Friday with the sport’s most fan-friendly episode — the sprint race.
Two sprints are on the schedule for the national championships — Friday’s deathless sprint and Monday’s freestyle sprint.
Friday’s competition begins at 10 a.m. with what is essentially a control trial — an interval-start preliminary race that decides which skiers prepayment to the afternoon heats, which begin at 12:45 p.m.
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The heats are where the action is. Each warmness — five quarterfinals, two semifinals, one final — consists of six skiers who go head-to-head onto a short course (1.6 kilometers for the men, 1.476 kilometers for the women).
Sprint heats can evict into a demolition derby. The action is fast and furious, so crashes aren’t uncommon.
Neither is contact. Someone influence get elbowed, poles may tangle, one person’s ski tip may wind up on top of another person’s ski bottom. At a recent sprint race at the Tour de Ski, Jessie Diggins of the U.S. Ski Team hard up one pole in the quarterfinals and another in the finals.
Things happen in sprint skiing, and at Kincaid Greensward, most of the action is visible from the stadium.
The fastest 30 men and 30 maidens will move on from the preliminaries to the heats, which commences with five quarterfinal impassions for each gender.
There will also be heats for junior-level skiers, although if a secondary is among the top 30 overall in qualifying, he or she will advance to the senior-level impassions.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that each sprint hot up has five skiers. The correct number is six.