The men in Rumford, Maine took to the Nordic track with a mass start 30k classic race at the U.S. Cross Country Championships, and Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s Noah Hoffman took control for most of the race to win the gold.

Hoffman, a U.S. team athlete, and fourth in Thursday’s 15k, had enough left in his tank after the sprints and distance races over the previous days to win the contest by 53.6 seconds with a time of 1 hour 26 minutes 49.3 seconds.

“I’m really excited to get that monkey off my back,” said Hoffman.  “I’ve had lots of opportunities in national championship races before and I was never able to get it done before today.”

Hoffman said he recovered well after Thursday’s 15k skate.

“My energy was really good, and the track was in great shape,” said Hoffman.

And that energy served him well coming into the last lap according to coach Eric Pepper.

“When Hoffman made his move on the last lap, it was very decisive,” said Pepper.  “ And he just took off from there.”

Some would say that Hoffman crushed the field today with a victory of just over 53 seconds.

“We worked with Coldwell Sports today selecting skis and bindings for this contest,” said Pepper.  “Hoffman felt he had the best skis in today’s race.  We’re very happy for him.”

SSCV’s Tad Elliot and Sylvan Ellefson, first and third in Thursday’s race, finished the day in 13th and 17th, respectively.

“Elliot skied well,” said Pepper.  “His classic skiing will only get better as the season continues.  And Ellefson woke up sick and congested this morning.  He just wasn’t able to break away from the pack.”

The competitors get a rest day today, and the U.S. Cross Country Championships will resume on Sunday, 1/8, with a 1.6k classic sprint race for the men.