XC Skiers Named for JWCs, U-23s
PARK CITY, Utah (Feb. 14) - The U.S. Ski Team has named 23 cross country athletes to the FIS Junior World Championships and Under-23 Championships teams. "These championships are a great test of an athlete's abilities and preparation compared to their peers internationally, and a great way to begin the process of preparing young athletes for the demands of racing internationally," U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said.
The Junior Worlds and U-23s are held simultaneously and are scheduled for Feb. 21-28 in Malles, Italy, after being shifted from snowless Szczyrk, Poland.
The teams include seven U.S. Ski Team members plus a cluster of college racers and club skiers. Chosen for the championships (including birthdate, hometown and club program):
FIS Junior World Championships
(Feb. 21-28 in Malles, Italy - rescheduled from Feb. 3-10)
Kevin Cutts, 3/9/88; Townshend, VT (Northern Michigan University)
Matt Gelso, 7/18/88; Brownsville, CA (U.S. Ski Team/Auburn Ski Club/University of Colorado)
Reese Hanneman, 12/25/89; Fairbanks, AK (Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks)
Noah Hoffman, 8/1/89; Ketchum, ID (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)
Reid Pletcher, 9/25/88; Hailey, ID (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)
Max Treinen, 9-1-88; Anchorage, AK (Alaska Winter Stars/University of Alaska Anchorage)
Jennie Bender, 1/12/88; Johnson, VT (University of Vermont)
Sadie Bjornsen, 11/21/89; Winthrop, WA (Methow Valley Nordic Ski Team)
Sophie Caldwell, 3/22/90; Peru, VT (Stratton Mountain School)
Rosie Brennan, 12/2/88; Park City, UT (U.S. Ski Team/National Sports Foundation/Dartmouth College)
Ida Sargent, 1/25/88; Orleans, VT (Dartmouth College)
Alexa Turzian, 8/13/88; Sun Valley, ID (U.S. Ski Team/Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)
(Feb. 21-28, coinciding with Junior Worlds)
Tyson Flaharty, 6/28/85; Fairbanks, AK (Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center)
Simeon Hamilton, 5/14/87; Aspen, CO (Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club/Middlebury College)
Karl Nygren, 3/5/87; Prior Lake, MN (University of Colorado)
Mike Sinnott, 1/23/85; Sun Valley, ID (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation/The Factory Team/Dartmouth College)
Ben True, 12/29/85; Hanover, NH (Dartmouth College)
Morgan Arritola, 5/13/88; Fairfield, ID (U.S. Ski Team/Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)
Evelyn Dong, 5/26/85; Bend, OR (The Factory Team/XC Oregon)
Taz Mannix, 6/14/86; Talkeetna, AK (U.S. Ski Team/APU Nordic)
Elsa Sargent, 4/18/86; Orleans, VT (Dartmouth College)
Morgan Smyth, 2/10/86; Vernon, VT (U.S. Ski Team/Northern Michigan U.)
Liz Stephen, 1/12/87; East Montpelier, VT (U.S. Ski Team/Burke Mountain Academy)
"We've seen some quite impressive performances from this group of young skiers already this season, in the SuperTour and even in the World Cup," Bodensteiner said. "We have a chance for top results, and that's what the coaches on the ground are focused on right now. But most importantly, this gives us a gauge to measure where we're really at in
terms of athlete development across the nation."
The U-23 championships are designed to bridge the gap for young skiers before they establish themselves on the World Cup tour. Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) won the first men's U-23 cross country title, capturing the 30K classic technique race in 2003. A year ago, Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA) was silver medalist in the CL sprint after competing at the FIS Nordic World Championships.
Co-team leaders for the Junior Worlds and U-23 championships are Pat Casey and Matt Whitcomb, U.S. Continental Cup coaches; former Olympian Patty Ross of Middlebury College; Kristina Joder Casey, University of Utah coach and another former Olympian; Jason Cork of Durango (CO) Nordic Ski Club. U.S. Ski Team waxing technician Randy Gibbs and former Olympian Ben Husaby of Oregon's Mount Bachelor Ski Education Foundation will oversee the waxing. Karyn Thull will be the team's physical therapist.
Bj Sport to Supply U.S. Ski Team
PARK CITY, Utah (Feb. 14) - Bj Sport, headed by six time Olympic champion Bjorn Daehlie, will outfit the U.S. Nordic Ski Team through 2011, U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner announced. The unique agreement includes an "active" role by Daehlie in not only equipping athletes but athlete counseling and advice.
The apparel company previously outfitted the U.S. cross country, nordic combined and ski jumping teams through the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and the 2003 FIS Nordic World Championships. A change in company ownership ended that agreement, but when Daehlie re-purchased Bj Sport last fall, he moved quickly to reunite with the U.S. nordic teams, Bodensteiner said.
The Bj brand is distributed in North America by Alpina Sports of Lebanon, NH, which helped complete the new agreement. "We were very pleased to hear from Bjorn and Alpina. He was a great partner during our breakout seasons in 2002 and '03," Bodensteiner said.
"The fact that he sought us out to support the re-launch of his brand is real validation of a Team that's on the move," he added. "He sees what we're doing, believes in it and is now an integral part of our support network. I know from our past work together that Bjorn feels a special affinity between Norwegian and American skiing."
In a precedent-setting role, Daehlie also will take part in advising designated athletes, according to Bodensteiner.
In addition to outfitting the Team, Bj Sport and Bodensteiner have begun planning for not only the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, but the 2011 World Championships in Oslo, Norway. The agreement also includes summer training gear, the first time a nordic supplier has provided off-season technical wear.
Apart from the uniform and clothing support, Bodensteiner said Daehlie will be "an active participant" in supporting U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation VIP tours forby donors to Holmenkollen next month. "Bjorn's involvement provides another exciting dimension to the Foundation's trip to Oslo," he said.
"Seeing the U.S. nordic community wearing Bjorn Daehlie gear with its distinctive 'Bj' logo - in races, out touring, training in the preseason or just around town - is a strong statement of support for U.S. Ski Team athletes as well as the function and fashion element of the gear," Bodensteiner said.
"We're not only excited but we're extremely proud to be back with Bjorn on a long-term agreement. He won 12 Olympics medals, a record eight of them gold, and we feel Bj Sport is the gold standard for our ski apparel."
Citizen racers and recreational skiers can also wear the U.S. Ski Team's Bj Sport headgear in a special new support program, Friends of Cross Country (FoXC). Donors contributing $50 or more to the U.S. Ski Team through FoXC will receive an official U.S. Ski Team hat from Bj Sport. Fans can check it out at http://foxc.ussa.org.
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