Myrmo, Sharon Firth Victorious
Magne Myrmo of Norway and 18-year-old Sharon Firth of Canada sped to victory in the Trans-America Cross Country Ski Race last night at Crandall Park.
A crowd estimated at more than 3,00 turned out to witness the race, in a five-city series, and see the steller international field in action.
Myrmo covered the 10-kilometer course in 34:41 to be 15 seconds ahead of his teammate, Audun Nerland, who was clocked in 34:54.
Myrmo, a member of the Norwegian Ski Team, was a silver medalist in the 50 kilometer event during the Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.
Nerland was the favorite in the Olympic 50 kilometer race, but became sick and was unable to compete. However, he did win the gold in the pre-Olympic event.
Canadian Rolf Pettersen placed third in 36:26 to provide one of the major surprises.
The 26-year-old brother of the Canadian coach, Bjorn Pettersen, has come on strong in the past few weeks and his most recent victory was in the 30 kilometer North American championships at Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Mike Gallagher of Johnson, Vt., was the fourth place finisher in time of 36:29.
A professor at Johnson State College, Gallagher has won the U.S. championship several times and is considered the best male cross country skier ever in the U.S.
Bert Bullock 5th
Fifth place went to 16-year-old Bert Bullock, the sensation of the Canadian team, who was timed in 37:14.
The youngster recently won the 15 kilometer championship in Canada and is regarded as the best young skier Canada has ever produced.
Bob Grey of Putney, Vt., was sixth in 37:40, followed by Jarl Omholt Jensen of Inuvik, NWT, (37:50), Erik Salkeld of North Bay, Ontario (37:51), and Malcolm Hunter of Ottawa, Canada (38:10).
Hunter, regarded as the leader of the Canadian team, got the best seed of any member of his squad (21st) but never challenged.
Included in the men’s field was Rod Francette of Glens Falls, skiing for the Middlebury College team.
The former Queensbury standout, a college freshman, finished 23rd in the time of 44:49.
Sharon Firth started No. 13 in a field of 14 women and covered the five kilometer distance in 24:23.
Miss Firth’s twin sister, Shirley, came in second with a clocking of 25:08.
The girls are both members of the Canadian Ski Team and reside in Inuvik, NWT.
Rosanne Allen Surprised.
Rosanne Allen, also of Inuvik, was third in the time of 26:33 and Pettersen, her coach, said it was her best race. “I expected the Firth girls to do well,” Pettersen said, “but Miss Allen put it all together for this race.”
Martha Rockwell, the defending champion from Putney, Vt., was fourth in 26:40 and Alison Owen from Wenatchee, Wash., was fifth in 26:46.
Liz Cole, a high school student at Johnstown, took the No. 6 spot and prompted Steve Williams, the Eastern team coach, to remark that it was her “best effort ever.”
Seventh place went to Helen Saunders of the Canadian team with a clocking of 27:04.
Alexandira Wappett, Queensbury High School student, finished 14th in the field in 30:55.
“The track was super fast for the women, who went first,” commented race chairman Don A. Metivier, “and there was plenty of passing on the course which made for spectator interest.”
Metivier also said that last night’s crowd was the largest of any during the series and came in the smallest city.
The series began in Minneapolis, then moved to Cleveland, Toronto and Burlington, Vt., before concluding here.
A competitors awards banquet was held in the ballroom of the Queensbury Inn following the race where contestants received their prizes.
Mayor Robert J. Cronin presented engraved silver trays to the winners.