Just a few months ago, the Bridger Ski Foundation elite and postgrad team was without a coach and down to two athletes. Today, the team boasts 14 high-level athletes led by 2014 U.S. sprint champion Jennie Bender.
SMST2 Head Coach Gus Kaeding, 29, came to the striking realization this winter that he couldn’t see himself coaching in 10 years. With that in mind, he decided to plot a new future, which could include a master’s in finance. His contract is up at the end of June, but Kaeding plans to help Stratton transition to a new elite-team coach.
The 4 x 5 k relay made its way back into U.S. nationals for the first time in about 16 years, but with a new twist of two men and two women per team. APU showed its strength and depth early on, and its winning anchor, Kikkan Randall said she’s hoping the format makes it into the World Cup. She’s not alone.
Domestic racing continued with the SuperTour this past weekend in Craftsbury, Vt, where Caitlin Gregg podiumed in all three races, twice at the top, and second in the classic race to Rosie Brennan. On the men’s side, Scott Patterson captured two wins in a row, and Sam Naney took a victory in Sunday’s sprint.
The NorAm circuit resumed last weekend with the three-day Eastern Canadian Championships in Cantley, Quebec, where Graham Nishikawa and Alysson Marshall of the Canadian Senior Development Team both picked up two wins. Before the Western Championships Feb. 13-16, some are considering racing over in Europe.
Regardless of what happens with the official U.S. Olympic Nordic Ski Team naming on Wednesday, Caitlin Gregg says she’s happy. The last four years have been about balance, Gregg explains, and a journey with her husband that she wouldn’t trade for anything. “One of the greatest things though is that anticipation of not knowing that you made it,” she says.
Four racers proved they deserve a spot on Canada’s Olympic team this weekend in the freestyle sprints and 15/30 k skiathlons. Heidi Widmer (AWCA/NST) and Jesse Cockney (AWCANST) took home top honors in the freestyle sprint, while Graeme Killick (AWCA/NST) and Amanda Ammar (Team Ninja) won the skiathlon.