NewsNCCSEF Announces U25 Awards

FasterSkier FasterSkierMay 29, 2008

National Cross Country Ski Education Foundation (NCCSEF) announced today the award of ten $1500 grants to US Elite Athletes under the age of 25. These grants were made possible due to the $24,000 of donations raised in the NCCSEF U25 Stanley Grant Challenge for this ski season.

This program depends on donations from supporters of US Cross Country Ski Racing. Hal Stanley has pledged at least another two years of matching your donations to allow our program to continue supporting these athletes. Please make your contributions to the NCCSEF U25 Stanley Grant Challenge today!

The athletes we have selected for this year’s grants are:

AthleteTeamCoach
Bryan Cook – Atomic/Swix – Sten Fjeldheim & Jenny Ryan
Evelyn Dong – XC Oregon/Factory Team – JD Downing
Brian Gregg – CXC – Bryan Fish
Brenton Knight – APUNSC – Erik Flora
Matt Liebsch – CXC – Bryan Fish
Kristina Owen – CXC – Bryan Fish
Katie Ronsee – APUNSC – Erik Flora
Maria Stuber – NMU coached by – Sten Fjeldheim & Jenny Ryan
Kristina Trygstad-Saari – Bridger Ski Foundation – Dragan Danevski
Johanna Winters – CXC – Bryan Fish

The goal of this program is to increase the financial assistance for elite athletes who are not yet supported by the US Ski Team. These athletes have limited resources to fund even the basic expenses of training, travel, and racing. As a result many talented American X-C ski racers either drop out entirely or try to pursue their racing part time while finding other avocations to provide a living. It is our view that the US will never excel over the long term in X-C ski racing without a much greater pool of dedicated athletes skiing in excellent programs during the post junior years. The junior programs in the US are growing in excellence and producing some world class level skiers. Some college programs are keeping top athletes in skiing during these critical years and helping them develop. A handful of factory teams and regional teams are doing their best to help these athletes afford to pursue their talents and dreams. We hope our organization can add another element to this equation.

Based on the applications we received this year, our review of potential athletes, and discussions with top coaches and the US Ski Team, we made a revision to how we made grants this year. We have dropped the regional awarding of grants in favor of making awards to the top 10 athletes who apply. The reality is that the top athletes are gravitating toward a few excellent programs where the coaching, support, and ability to train with peers allows them to develop to their fullest. These programs don’t have the financial resources to provide all the financial assistance these athletes need. We hope that by being another resource for these people, we will help the momentum of these programs of excellence.

We applaud these athletes on the many years of dedication and hard work that has gotten them to the elite level of US cross-country ski racers. They all have the talent to progress much further and represent the US and themselves as top racers in the world of x-c ski racing. We hope the ski community will join us in applauding their accomplishments and supporting them for their future achievements. We are pleased that not only are these athletes talented x-c ski racers, but all of them are wonderful young people with many other accomplishments and talents who are excellent ambassadors for our sport just as willing to give back as to receive.

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