PARK CITY, UT (May 26) - World Championship silver medalist Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK), along with World Cup sprint medalist Andy Newell (Shaftsburry, VT), Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) and three-time U.S. champion Liz Stephen (East Montelier, VT) are among the athletes headlining the newly named 2010 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team.
Six athletes were named to the A Team and five to the B Team. The 2010 Olympic Team, which will be named primarily from current season results, will be announced Jan. 19, 2010.
"The Team experienced significant improvement in the past season and that talent shines through in our 2010 roster," U.S. Nordic Program Director John Farra said. "Our A squad has grown with the addition of athletes who have proven themselves, and the B Team is populated with athletes who are fully committed to international success and anxious to keep the trend of improved results going for the U.S. Ski Team."
"It's a young team, but it's also an experienced team. A lot of them have already been through the Olympic cycle. We feel like we're on the right path with this group," U.S. Cross Country Ski Team Head Coach Pete Vordenberg said. "Performing at the Olympics is the big goal for the season, so that's really our focus."
At the forefront of making history for U.S. women's cross country, Randall set the standard again in 2009 when she earned her World Championship medal. In 2010 she will once again lead the way for the women in the hunt for further U.S. success.
"With Kikkan leading the way, we have good hopes for this and future Olympics," Vordenberg said.
On the men's side, Newell remained a strong contender in World Cup sprints all season while Freeman narrowly missed a medal in the 15K classic at World Championships.
Constantly improving her skills over the years and one of the most steadily improving athletes in cross country, Stephen's success in the World Cup arena, including a fourth place in a team sprint with Randall, has pushed her to the A Team where she'll continue to thrive. Joining her in the move up from the B Team is Morgan Arritola (Ketchum, ID) who found success at the U23 Championships and World Championships in 2009.
"Liz and Morgan are both growing and it's really nice to have new faces on the World Cup team," Vordenberg said. "The atmosphere is really good right now with the whole team."
The U.S. Cross Country Ski Team has already begun training in preparation for the 2010 season and will utilize its new home, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's Center of Excellence in Park City.
"Many of our athletes will be coming to Park City this summer for training," Farra said."It is going to be a tremendous asset for the athletes in terms of fitness, testing and in recovery between hard training sessions."
2010 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team
(including date of birth, hometown and club program; * indicates Olympian):
Morgan Arritola (5/13/86; Ketchum, ID; 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)*
Liz Stephen (1/12/87; East Montpelier, VT; Burke Mountain Academy)
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)
Lindsay Williams (6/16/84; Hastings, MN; Northern Michigan University)*