The international skier comes to Utah as a two-time Olympian
SALT LAKE CITY â€” The University of Utah ski team announced today the hiring of Wendy Wagner as its assistant nordic coach. The Park City, Utah, native will take the place of former assistant Josh Smullin.
â€œI’m very excited that Wendy approached me about coaching at Utah,â€ said head coach Eli Brown. â€œShe has an outstanding personality, a strong will and a great sense of sportsmanship. Besides being a solid character and a two-time Olympian, she is also a local. Having Wendy on board will be a great for our program.â€
â€œWendy is coming to Utah straight from international racing,â€ adds Brown. â€œHer experience of competing at a high level and her experience as a female role model in the sport will be invaluable.â€
Wagner returns to Utah after retiring from the international racing circuit prior to winning the U.S. national marathon championships in March. That came one month after she and teammate Kikkan Randall wrote themselves into the record books by finishing 10th in the sprint relay at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. They became the first-ever American duo to ski into the top 10.
â€œI feel the University of Utah cross country ski program is at an exciting crossroads,â€ remarked Wagner. â€œI believe in Eli’s vision of creating a program where a young student-athlete can receive an education and at the same time develop a foundation to become a world-class athlete. It is a great honor for me to be a part of this program and I can’t wait to get started.â€
After nine years of racing experience at the World Cup, World Championships and Europa Cup level, Wagner comes to Utah to assist coach Brown with the Ute cross country team. Wagner’s exceptional credentials include two Olympic Winter Games appearances (2002 & 2006) and six seasons as a member of the U.S. Ski Team. She is currently the No. 1 ranked female cross country skier in the U.S and claims 17 wins in the North American Continental Cup Series.
â€œBy sharing the knowledge and skills I have learned in my skiing career I hope to develop the athletes’ full skiing potential,â€ said Wagner. â€œI care deeply for the sport of cross country skiing and want to be a part of seeing it grow along with the next generation of athletes. I’m also looking forward to beginning studies in my long time interest in meteorology.â€
Wagner received a bachelor of science in mathematics and a minor in environmental studies from Western State College. She is currently working on her master’s degree in meteorology with a focus on snow studies and avalanche forecasting.
â€œWendy will be working on her master’s degree in Meteorology,â€ comments Brown. â€œThis field of science is also interesting for the ski program, because of the technical applications involved with snow science and weather forecasting. Wendy will be a huge asset to the program.â€
Photo: Nick Brown, nsbphoto.com