Fresh off a string of historic performances at the Pyeongchang Olympics, Jessie Diggins chalked up another unprecedented feat Sunday with a silver medal in a World Cup 30-kilometer freestyle in Holmenkollen, Norway.
The cross-country skier from Afton became the first American woman to earn a medal in a World Cup 30K event. Diggins, who finished third in a classic sprint Wednesday in her first post-Olympic race, skied aggressively Sunday and was part of the lead pack from the start. Marit Bjoergen of Norway, the Olympic champion in the 30K, surged to the front with about 1 kilometer remaining and won in 1 hour, 18 minutes, 12.4 seconds.
Diggins finished in 1:18:16, and Norway’s Ragnhild Haga was third in 1:18:16.7. Minneapolis native Rosie Frankowski was 31st.
In Pyeongchang, Diggins teamed with Kikkan Randall to win the gold medal in the team sprint, the first Olympic medal ever won by a U.S. woman in cross-country skiing. She finished seventh in the 30K mass start classic on the final day of the Winter Games, the best-ever Olympic finish by an American at the 30K distance. Her silver on Sunday was the first cross-country medal earned by an American at Holmenkollen, one of the most prestigious stops on the World Cup tour.
“I was feeling great, and I’ve been in the best shape of my life these last few weeks,” Diggins said. “So I decided that whatever else happened, I was going to have a gutsy race and be brave enough to push the pace — even if that meant skiing in the front and doing a lot of the work, because I knew that was my best shot.
“I took my chances and kept hammering. I felt I was almost sprinting the whole 30K.”
The second-place finish kept Diggins in third place in the World Cup overall standings. The season ends this weekend with the World Cup Finals, which run from Friday through Sunday in Falun, Sweden.
Gophers pound Creighton
A seven-run sixth inning propelled the Gophers to a 15-1 baseball victory over Creighton on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, averting a three-game series sweep by the Bluejays.
Micah Coffey went 4-for-6 with a home run and three RBI for the Gophers (11-6). Ben Mezzenga had three hits and two RBI and leadoff man Luke Pettersen reached base four times and scored three runs. Terrin Vavra had two doubles and two RBI and Jordan Kozicky drove in two runs. The Gophers also drew eight walks.
Gophers freshman Patrick Fredrickson, boosted by a 20-hit attack, struck out six in six innings for the 6-6 righthander’s first collegiate victory.
• The sixth-ranked Gophers men’s gymnastics team placed second in a triangular meet at No. 9 Iowa, ending a five-meet winning streak. The Hawkeyes won with 405.950 points. The Gophers scored 400.750, and Air Force (388.600) was third. Vitali Kan was the lone Gophers event winner, scoring 13.850 on floor. Shane Wiskus was third in the all-around at 78.950.
• Arizona State swept the Gophers in a softball doubleheader in Tempe, Ariz., winning 9-1 and 4-0. Maddie Houlihan’s RBI double in the third inning drove in the lone Gophers run in the first game, a five-inning loss. Sydney Dwyer had the lone Gophers hit in Game 2, a one-hitter by the Sun Devils’ Giselle Juarez. Amber Fiser struck out 11 in six innings in the loss.
• Gophers volleyball player Molly Lohman will use her fifth year of college eligibility to compete in beach volleyball at Texas Christian, the Gophers and Lohman both announced on social media accounts this past weekend. The 6-3 middle blocker from Mankato West finished her Gophers career with 530 blocks, fifth in program history.