Vt. woman places 6th in Olympic cross-country sprint - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. woman places 6th in Olympic cross-country sprint

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The 2014 Winter Olympics has become a playground for Vermont athletes who have dedicated their lives to making the cut. And now, 23-year-old Sophie Caldwell of Peru, Vt., has set a record as the first U.S. woman to come in with a sixth-place overall finish in cross-country skiing.

"We've long known that women were great cross-country ski racers and it's great to show the world and the rest of the U.S. that we can do it," said Kristina von Trapp Frame, who owns the Trapp Family Lodge.

Caldwell graduated from Stratton Mountain School before heading to Dartmouth College, where she skied for the Dartmouth Ski Team. Former classmate Patrick Chen says the star athlete is destined for greatness.

"I know she had a really good career when she was at Dartmouth for the Nordic ski team over there and I think it's phenomenal that we're sending, the college is consistently sending athletes to the Winter Games," Chen said.

This is Caldwell's first Olympics and her first year on the U.S. Cross-Country Ski Team B-Team. In 2005, Caldwell was a champion at the junior nationals. This year, the event will be held at Trapp Family Lodge, where many past Vermont Olympians have left their mark.

"I think the exposure for Vermont is fantastic," von Trapp Frame said. "It's really going to bring the awareness to Vermont for cross-country skiing and for how hard our athletes work. We're all cheering them on."

Onion River Sports in Montpelier is also a supporter of Vermont Olympians and plans to cheer Caldwell on to the very end.

"I think we're all going to show up with coffee in hand and stream them live so we can watch our local athletes compete in Sochi and there's nothing like that in the world," said Carrie Baker, the marketing director at Onion River Sports.

Caldwell will be back on the trails in Sochi later this week representing team USA and the Green Mountain State.

Jessica Diggins who attended the Stratton Mountain School was 13th. And Ida Sargent of Orleans came in 19th.

American medal favorite Kikkan Randall finished 18th.

And in the men's sprint race, Shaftsbury's Andy Newell was the top American finisher in 18th place. Simi Hamilton, who went to Middlebury College, came in 27th.

Also Tuesday, four local athletes competed in the women's biathlon. Susan Dunklee of Barton was the top American finisher in 18th.

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