PARK CITY, UT (Sept. 26) - The 2009 roster for the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team is stacked with talent and full of determination and momentum for the coming season. The team includes one of the world's fastest sprint skiers, Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), World Cup winner Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK), who became the first woman to win a cross country World Cup competition last season in Rybinsk, Russia, and up and coming racer Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) who won a bronze medal at the U23 Championships.
"What an awesome team with veterans who have been getting onto World Cup podiums, and a field of younger athletes who are displaying their dedication to being the greatest cross country skiers this country has ever had," said USSA Nordic Director John Farra. "The professionalism and commitment of the entire crew is obvious and I can't wait to see what they can accomplish in this World Championships season."
"Last season was one of our best and the training we've done this summer is, I feel, better than we had done last summer," Cross Country Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said. "So, I'm really excited about this coming season."
After becoming the first U.S. woman to break the top three of a World Cup cross country and, only a year later, becoming the first woman to win a World Cup, Randall will lead the Team's women with her "no guts, no glory" mentality in the hunt for additional milestones in U.S. Cross Country Ski Team history.
"She seems to be ahead of where she was last year," Vordenberg said. "She's definitely the team leader and she has a lot of really talented girls who are right behind her. They'll be pushing her this season for sure."
Newell, whose second place finish was his career best, will be heading up the men's World Cup team with Olympians Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA), Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) and Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI) all contending for World Cup and World Championship success.
"We have seen progress for Andy and for all the World Cup guys. We should see some really good results out of them this year," Vordenberg said.
Stephen, a Westminster College student in Utah, will be back in the hunt again this season after taking home her first international medal at the U23 Championships last February. The Continental Cup squad also includes newcomers Garrott Kuzzy (Hayward, WI) who at one of his first World Cup competitions, scored a ninth place finish last January in Canmore, B.C. and Noah Hoffman (Aspen, CO) who managed a 12th place finish at Junior World Championships in Italy.
"What's important with a younger crew is they have success at the level they're at," Vordenberg said. "The training that they've done and the testing that they've done, we've seen that they should have continued success at that level."
The 2009 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team (including date of birth, hometown and club program; * indicates Olympian):
Chris Cook (6/15/80; Rhinelander, WI; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)*
Kris Freeman (10/14/80; Andover, NH; Andover Outing Club)*
Torin Koos (7/19/80; Leavenworth, WA; Leavenworth Winter Sports Club)*
Andy Newell (11/30/83; Shaftsbury, VT; Stratton Mountain School)*
Kikkan Randall (12/31/82; Anchorage, AK; Alaska Pacific University Nordic)*
Morgan Arritola (5/13/86; Fairfield, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)
Rosie Brennan (12/2/88; Park City, UT; National Sports Foundation)
Lindsey Dehlin (7/2/84; Mahtomedi, MN; Northern Michigan University)*
Matt Gelso (7/18/88; Truckee, CA; Auburn Ski Club/University of Colorado)
Noah Hoffman (8/1/89; Aspen, CO; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)
Garrott Kuzzy (11/26/82; Hayward, WI; CXC Elite)
Taz Mannix (6/14/86; Talkeetna, AK; Alaska Pacific University Nordic)
Morgan Smyth (2/10/86; Vernon, VT; Northern Michigan University)
Liz Stephen (1/12/87; East Montpelier, VT; Burke Mountain Academy)
Alexa Turzian (8/13/88; Sun Valley, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)
Laura Valaas (3/2/84; Wenatchee, WA; Alaska Pacific University Nordic)
Lindsay Williams (6/16/84; Hastings, MN; Northern Michigan University)*
Leif Zimmermann (10/3/83; Bozeman, MT; Bridger Nordic)*