Patterson siblings inch closer to Olympics with US National wins

Anchorage skier Scott Patterson won the 15 kilometer race by nearly 1 minute. (Photo courtesy of Charlie Renfro/Alaska Pacific University)

U.S. Cross Country Nationals kicked off on Wednesday at Anchorage’s Kincaid Park.

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The races are the last chance for many skiers hoping to qualify for the Olympics next month in South Korea and it was a pair of siblings who took home the national titles on Wednesday, inching closer to their Olympic dreams.

Anchorage’s Kincaid Park was packed with people, many with their hoods up and cow bells in hand to cheer on the racers. It was snowing hard on Wednesday and the ski trails were blanketed by the time the men’s race got underway.

With nearly 200 men in the race, there was one local favorite who charged out of the start gate and up the first hill. Scott Patterson skied across the finish line after four laps on the race course, nearly a minute ahead of his competitors.

And he wasn’t the only Patterson to earn a national title at Wednesday’s races.

Although her race was a bit closer, Scott’s sister Caitlin still had nearly 20 seconds on the second place finisher in the women’s 10 kilometer skate race.

Caitlin Patterson earned her third national title at Wednesday races in Anchorage. (Emily Russell/Alaska Public Media

Patterson smiled as she stood atop the first place podium, with a wreath paced over her head and snow still falling.

Caitlin and Scott Patterson are graduates of Anchorage’s South High School and are former members of Alaska Winter Stars ski program.

The first place finishes for the Patterson siblings put both in serious contention for spots on the Olympic cross-country ski team heading to Pyeongchang, South Korea in February.

U.S. Cross Country Nationals continue at Anchorage’s Kincaid Park with skate sprints on Friday.

Emily Russell is the voice of Alaska morning news as Alaska Public Media’s Morning News Host and Producer.

Originally from the Adirondacks in upstate New York, Emily moved to Alaska in 2012. She skied her way through three winters in Fairbanks, earning her Master’s degree in Northern Studies from UAF.

Emily’s career in radio started in Nome in 2015, reporting for KNOM on everything from subsistence whale harvests to housing shortages in Native villages. She then worked for KCAW in Sitka, finally seeing what all the fuss with Southeast, Alaska was all about.

Back on the road system, Emily is looking forward to driving her Subaru around the region to hike, hunt, fish and pick as many berries as possible. When she’s not talking into the mic in the morning, Emily can be found reporting from the peaks above Anchorage to the rivers around Southcentral.

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