PARK CITY, UT (Aug. 21) - The 2010 U.S. Adaptive Cross Country Team is rich with talent with three of its five members Paralympians, including World Cup winner Chris Klebl (Heber City, UT), as it heads into the 2010 season according to Program Director Sandy Metzger who released the team's roster Friday.
"We have a veteran team with experienced athletes," Metzger said. "We have the ability to have an amazing season and we are hoping for just that. Our athletes have what it takes to go to the top and it's just a matter of building the consistency to get there."
U.S. Adaptive Cross Country Head Coach Greg Rawlings is amped to have provided the team with more training time and direction as they make a play for Vancouver.
"As a whole everyone's very excited because it's a huge year and they know what's required of them," Rawlings said."We're definitely driving the 'go fast' thing into them versus the "go out there and just exercise.' This year we got two weeks on snow for most of the athletes and they're pretty focused. We also met up in July and had a great session utilizing the Center of Excellence. We sent everyone home with their homework and I think we're at a lot better level now."
Taking charge for the women's squad is Monica Bascio (Evergreen, CO) who found enough success on the World Cup in 2009 that she ended up second in the overall cross country standings. In 2010 Rawlings says the journey will be hard, but believes Bascio has what it takes.
"It's a tough one because it's a Paralympic year and we'll get a couple people out of the woodwork that we don’t know about," Rawlings said. "If we keep her on track and with lots of hard work she could be knocking on the door."
In the highly competitive men's sit-ski class Klebl took charge for the U.S. men, finishing the season sixth in the World Cup standings. Rawlings is extremely confident in his ability to find success throughout the 2010 season.
"Chris is an all-arounder, mainly middle and long distance and I'd be very surprised if he doesn't medal almost every start," Rawlings said.
Also leading the top of the men's field is Andy Soule (Sun Valley, ID) a veteran of war who was sent to Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001 where an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) took both of his legs. According to Rawlings, with his will power, Soule is an ace for the sprint races.
"I've got big expectations for Andy in the sprint races," Rawlings said. "He is a lot more focused and a lot lighter, so he's dialed in for the Games. He's really excited."
Metzger added, "We are looking for big things from Andy Soule. Andy was on the verge last year. With his training and dedication during the off season, he is on fire and ready to win!"
The U.S. Adaptive Cross Country Team kicks its season off with a World Cup Dec. 16-17 in Lygna, Norway as they make their way toward the March 12-21 Paralympics in Vancouver.
2010 U.S. Adaptive Cross Country Ski Team Roster (birthdate; disabled category, hometown and * if Paralympian)
Sean Halsted (11/24/70; sit-ski, Ephrata, WA)
Chris Klebl (1/5/72; sit-ski, Heber City, UT)*
Greg Mallory (3/23/68; sit-ski, Portland, OR)*
Andrew Soule (12/2/80; sit-ski, Sun Valley, ID)
Monica Bascio (9/16/69; sit-ski, Evergreen, CO)*