Note: This is the fourth preview in a quick-and-dirty series on U.S. elite teams. We asked coaches to send their 2012/2013 rosters and tell us what’s new for the coming season. We will be publishing additional reports over the next few weeks. Teams are presented in no particular order.
Team: Central Cross Country, known as CXC Team
Coaches: Igor Badamshin (head coach), Andy Keller (assistant)
Roster: Karl Nygren, Brian Gregg, Doug Debold, Adam Martin, Eric Wolcott;
Jennie Bender, Caitlin Gregg, Nichole Bathe
Who’s new: Debold returns to the squad after placing third in classic sprint qualifier at 2012 U.S. nationals in Rumford, Maine, where he finished eighth overall. Bathe, 17, is moving up from CXC’s development ranks after being one of the leading Americans on the J1 Scando trip last season, placing eighth in a sprint in Estonia. Another 17-year-old former junior racer for CXC, Martin posted a 12th-place sprint finish on the J1 Scando trip.
Who’s missing: “We have several athletes that are not back on the team,” CXC Executive Director Yuriy Gusev wrote in an email. Among them are Jessie Diggins, who was recently promoted to the U.S. Ski Team’s A-team and decided to join the new Stratton Mountain School (SMS) Elite Team. Santi and Carolyn Ocariz rollerskied across the country and moved west to join XC Oregon, and Canadian Sara Hewitt also left CXC.
Former head coach Jason Cork also parted ways to accept the U.S. Ski Team men’s coach position. That followed the departure of CXC’s assistant coach Gus Kaeding, who is heading up the new SMS Elite Team.
Gusev wrote that CXC has been transitioning this spring, making Badamshin head coach after three years with the junior development team. Anticipating the departure of certain athletes, CXC made sure to support juniors like Bathe and Martin last year similar to how they worked with Diggins over the last two years.
Gusev added that they decreased the roster size to provide more athlete support, especially at international competitions.
“The most notable [skier] we’ll miss this year is Jessie Diggins,” Gusev wrote. “Athletes have to do what is the best for them and we 100% support their decision. We had similar situations in the past with Matt Liebsch and Tad Elliott. It’s about athletes and we need to support what is the best for their performance. We are proud that we played important role in getting those athletes where they are right now.”
Top results last season:
According to Gusev, CXC tallied:
• 80 top-three finishes in World Cup, US SuperTour and major marathon races
• 31 wins in US SuperTour and major marathon races
• 10 top-30 results in World Cup Races (by Jessie Diggins)
• 5 top-10 ranked skiers ranked in U.S.
• 5 skiers in the top-three of each gender in SuperTour final standings
• 4 national championship titles
• 3 skiers in the top three in the women’s freestyle sprint at US Nationals
• 2 top-10 World Cup results (Diggins)
• A silver medal in World Cup team sprint (Diggins with Alaska Pacific University’s Kikkan Randall)
Coach’s comment: After two summer training camps at Telemark Resort in Cable, Wis., Gusev complimented the team’s working atmosphere.
“There are few changes with training and workouts compared to the past, but the athletes are responding well to them and eager to try different ideas,” he wrote.
Alex Kochon (email@example.com) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.