The Audi FIS World Cup is set to begin in a few short weeks and the USSA athletes have been hard at work preparing at their Center of Excellence training center in Park City, Utah. With a regiment consisting of conditioning exercises and roller skiing on the Olympic trails of Soldier Hollow, the U.S. Cross Country Team has gotten themselves in fighting form for their first event Nov. 24-25 in Gaellivare, Sweden. In the midst of wrapping up their final pre-season training camp, USSA officials announced the line-up of athletes for the 2013 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team.
After a stellar 2011/2012 World Cup season, sprint champion Kikkan Randall will headline a roster of 13 cross-country athletes.
Kikkan Randall commented, “I am really excited to build off the momentum from last season both for my individual goals and for what we can achieve as a team during this upcoming year. The confidence on the women’s team is at an all-time high and with the depth we’ve created, we are focusing on relay success at the World Championship in February. I have been impressed with the high level of preparation seen across the team this summer and fall, and I believe we can turn some heads this winter!
Jessie Diggins, Kris Freeman, Simi Hamilton, Andy Newell, and Liz Stephen will join Randall on the A-Team. The B-Team will feature Sadie Bjornsen, Holly Brooks, Tad Elliott, Noah Hoffman and Ida Sargent. Erik Bjornsen and Skyler Davis round out the lineup on the Development Team. Both Diggins and Bjornsen had great performances last season, earning the very first podiums of their careers. 2010 Olympian Holly Brooks is new to the team this year, but has a wealth of experience to bring to the team. Hamilton and Hoffman each had great seasons last year as well. Hamilton took the top 10 spot in two World Cup sprints and Hoffman earned silver in the U23 World Championships.
Head Coach Chris Grover has a ton of confidence in his lineup of athletes. He explained, “The Team is coming off a season of strong performance. Kikkan Randall had six individual and two team podiums and was backed up by rookie Jessie Diggins and veteran Liz Stephen who each had breakout years. The men’s team is led by veterans Andy Newell and Kris Freeman who have both demonstrated that they will be entering the 2012-13 season in top form, plus rookie Simi Hamilton who broke through with several top-10 World Cup performances last season as well as U23 silver-medalist Noah Hoffman.”