Note: This is the ninth preview in our U.S. elite-team series, called the “The 12.” We asked coaches to tell us what’s new and whom to look out for this season, and we’ll publish additional previews in the coming weeks in no particular order.
Team: Methow Olympic Development (MOD)
Coach: Scott Johnston
Roster: Sam Naney, Brian Gregg; Caitlin Gregg, Maya Seckinger
Who’s new: Both Greggs (formerly of Central Cross Country, a.k.a. CXC) and Seckinger (Methow Valley Nordic Team). Brian Gregg was previously an MOD training partner, working out with Naney and Johnston in Washington’s Methow Valley last summer while Caitlin balanced school and training in the Midwest. Seckinger, a junior, will be pursuing success at Junior Nationals, according to Johnston.
Top results last season: The team’s longstanding staple, Naney, 28, qualified fifth in the classic sprint at U.S. nationals in January and went on to place ninth in the heats at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah. He was ninth again at the SuperTour Finals classic sprint in Soda Springs, Calif., placed 10th in the American Birkebeiner in Wisconsin, and was fourth in the Madison SuperTour skate sprint.
Brian Gregg, 29, narrowly missed the podium in the 15 k skate at nationals, placing fourth, and was the second-fastest qualifier in the skate sprint at Soldier Hollow. He won a SuperTour in Aspen, Colo., and was second in the hill climb at SuperTour Finals.
Caitlin, 32, qualified for the Canadian World Cup sprints in Quebec, where she was 18th in the team sprint and 49th in the individual skate. She won the American Birkebeinerfor the second time since 2011 and took the 5 k title at Canadian Nationals in Whistler, B.C. Like her husband, she qualified second in the U.S. nationals skate sprint at Soldier Hollow.
As a first-year J2, Seckinger clocked the eighth-fastest relay leg at Junior Nationals in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she was also ninth in the sprint qualifier and 14th in the 5 k freestyle. Her stellar season earned her an invite to the USSA National J2 Camp in late July in Michigan.
Coach’s comments: “The new additions have brought challenges but great rewards, too,” Johnston wrote in an email. “As a coach I am continually learning from the athletes and having more top level skiers has made my job more interesting. My approach is to design each athlete’s training to meet their individual needs and at times were are going 4 different directions but all with the same ending destination.”
Other previews: Alaska Pacific University | Bend Endurance Academy |Bridger Ski Foundation | Craftsbury GRP | Maine Winter Sports Center | SSCV/Team HomeGrown | Stratton Mountain School T2 | Sun Valley SEF Gold Team