OAKDALE — After training and competing around the world the past several months, Afton native Jessie Diggins returned home this week to a welcome home celebration on Wednesday, April 12 at the Slumberland Campus. A large turnout of family, friends, fans and supporters turned out to welcome the 2010 Stillwater Area High School graduate after she wrapped up her most successful season to date.
Diggins signed posters, posed for photos and offered words of encouragement to the many youngsters in attendance.
A three-time individual state champion while competing for the Ponies, Diggins finished the World Cup season No. 6 in the World Rankings. She claimed three World Cup podiums, including 5-kilometer freestyle gold medals in Norway on Dec. 3 and in Italy on Jan. 6 and a silver medal in the skiathlon in Germany on Jan. 3.
Those performances set the stage for what became the most successful performance for an individual American — and also Team USA — in the World Championships. Diggins captured a silver medal in the freestyle sprint and a bronze in the team sprint at the World Championships.
Her four career medals at the World Championships are the most ever for an American cross country skier. She also placed fourth with her teammates in the 4×5-kilometer relay and skied to a fifth-place finish in the 30-kilometer freestyle race.
Diggins has never been one to dwell on her own accomplishments, so Stillwater Nordic ski coach Kris Hansen shared some stories and reflected on the achievements of her former skier. Diggins followed by sharing slides and stories from the past season, along with examples for the many aspiring young skiers in attendance.
The welcome home event was free and open to the public, thanks to sponsors Slumberland Furniture, Salomon, Swix, and Podiumwear. There were many door prizes given away, including a pair of Salomon S/Lab Carbon Skate Skis, Swix Jessie Diggins Racing Gloves and Podiumwear apparel.