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American Kerrin Petty Wins Swedish 30K Title

January 25, 1996

UMEA, Sweden (AP) _ Kerrin Petty made cross-country ski history Thursday as she became the first American to win a Swedish championship title.

Petty, from Townshend, Vt., won the 30-kilometer classical technique race in 1 hour, 33 minutes, 48.0 seconds, beating several Swedish national team racers.

``I’ve never felt so great in my life!″ said Petty, who finished 35.7 seconds ahead of runnerup Annika Evaldsson.

Petty, 26, who competes for a ski club in Mora, the hotbed of Swedish cross-country skiing, finished among the top three in three races during the U.S. National championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. earlier this month. She qualified for the 1994 Olympic team, but wound up 59th out of 61 finishers in the 5K classical style race and did not finish the pursuit event at Lillehammer, Norway.

Niklas Jonsson won the men’s 50K classical style race, beating former two-time world champion Torgny Mogren by 2.42 minutes, after finishing second behind Kazakhstan’s Vladimir Smirnov in the two previous freestyle races.

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