CommunityNewsRegional / LocalElite Team Preview: Craftsbury Green Racing Project

Gavin KentchNovember 30, 2021
Clare Egan shoots in the pursuit in Östersund, March 2021. (photo: Manzoni/NordicFocus)

Team name and location: Craftsbury Green Racing Project (CGRP, or Craftsbury); Craftsbury, Vermont

Coaches: Pepa Miloucheva (head coach); Michael Gibson (biathlon coach); Nick Brown (assistant coach and wax tech); Ethan Dreissigacker (assistant biathlon coach)

Current roster (skiing and biathlon): Braden Becker, Adam Martin, Akeo Maifeld-Carucci, Caitlin Patterson, Michaela Keller-Miller, Margie Freed, Annika Landis, Alex Lawson (skiing); Jake Brown (Luke’s brother), Raleigh Goessling, Hallie Grossman, Susan Dunklee, Kelsey Dickinson, Tara Geraghty-Moats, Clare Egan, Luke Brown (Jake’s brother) (biathlon)

Who’s new: Luke Brown joins the team for biathlon, coming from Crosscut; Carsen Campbell joins the team for biathlon, coming from Rocky Mountain Racers; Tara Geraghty-Moats rejoins the team for biathlon, coming from nordic combined; Annika Landis joins the team for skiing, coming from Sun Valley; Alex Lawson joins the team for skiing after graduating from Middlebury this spring

Who’s still on this team, or otherwise involved in American skiing, from when we did this in 2012Caitlin Patterson (athlete, skiing); Susan Dunklee and Clare Egan (athletes, biathlon); Maria Stuber (head nordic coach, St. Scholastica); Patrick O’Brien (head coach, SMS Elite Team); also, former CGRP teammates Pat O’Brien and Ida Sargent got married this summer

Susan Dunklee in Pokljuka, Slovenia, February 2021. (photo: Manzoni/NordicFocus)

Top results last season: Starting with biathlon: The redoubtable veteran Dunklee finished last season on a strong note with two individual eighth-place finishes in Nové Město, one in sprint and one in the pursuit. She teamed up with Sean Doherty for the country’s first single mixed relay World Cup podium since Lowell Bailey and, well, Dunklee, in 2017. Egan had a pair of top-10 finishes, 9th and 10th in Hochfilzen, and was a member of two sixth-place relay teams. Dunklee and Egan are both already qualified for the Beijing Olympics. Jake Brown was on a sixth-place mixed-relay team in Nové Město and had a season’s best of 12th in individual races, in the sprint in Pokljuka.

Moving on to nordic combined: Geraghty-Moats won the only regular-season women’s noco race that was able to be held last year, in Ramsau, to take the inaugural overall title, while garnering praise as a trailblazer for women’s sports. She was fifth at World Champs in Oberstdorf.

And finally, on the nordic trails: Patterson raced on the World Cup from Ruka through the end of January, including finishing 34th overall in the Tour de Ski. She was on a fifth-place relay team in Lahti, and had individual World Cup bests of 27th, 29th, and 30th. Martin had three World Cup starts in distance races, with a best of 44th in Davos. Lawson was 24th at World Juniors in the 10 k skate.

Tara Geraghty-Moats racing at World Champs in Oberstdorf, February 2021. (photo: Modica/NordicFocus)

Coach’s comments: Pepa Miloucheva writes, “Summer and fall training for GRP was good and mostly went as planned. This spring we  officially added Alex Lawson, although she was here last year too and the only other addition was Annika Landis, who joined us after a year in Sun Valley.

“The whole team stayed and trained in Craftsbury through August. Waverly Gebhardt and Rena Schwartz trained with us as part of the summer U23 program and with our GRP biathletes here we had a really solid training group.

“Michaela had a setback early summer, broke her ankle and had to have surgery, but she kept really good fitness by spending hours on the SkiErg and was able to join the rest for the ski camp in September.

Adam Martin racing in Davos, December 2020. (photo: Modica/NordicFocus)

“Early September we went to Oberhof, Germany, for just over two weeks of training in the ski tunnel. This was our first trip since the pandemic, so I was little nervous, but everything worked out really well. The first few days the focus was on technique, transferring on-snow improvements athletes worked on during the summer. Second part was a solid speed block. Luckily there ware only a few other skiers [in the tunnel] at this time so we ware able to have really high quality intensity sessions.

“After a few weeks training at home and having incredible fall weather we packed up bags again and went to Park City for two weeks of elevation training. First part of the camp was lots of volume, some L3, a few athletes even hopped in a rollerski race at SoHo for fun. Second week we lowered the volume, had a couple mellow days, and finished the camp with a couple solid TT efforts to gain some experience racing at this elevation in preparation for Nationals.

“Back home athletes took a few easy days post-Utah. I did some testing, where a few records were broken, which was exciting to see, and now we are concentrating on race prep. Caitlin Patterson left for Europe [on Nov. 17], she will race the first WC period and in less than two weeks we all are about to hit the road for a month and a half.

Caitlin Patterson racing in Lahti, January 2021. (photo: Vianney THIBAUT/NordicFocus)

“Last year we were totally sheltered here at the center, didn’t travel at all, didn’t go to any camps, didn’t go to any races outside Craftsbury. Although we had everything we need here and the outdoor center staff was incredible, taking really good care and keeping us safe and healthy, it was mentally very hard on the athletes not to be able to race against the other regions. So this year I’m excited for this team to have a more normal race season and to see what they can do, as they worked really hard for it.”

Related coverage: Susan Dunklee interview on gender equity (part one, part two); Nordic Nation interview with Clare Egan; Ida Sargent retirement article; Nordic Nation interview with Tara Geraghty-Moats; summer article on the Race to the Top of Vermont

Previously in this series: BSF | SMS | Team Birkie | Sun Valley | APU

Gavin Kentch

Gavin Kentch is a lifelong Alaskan. He skis with the Alaska Pacific University Masters team in Anchorage, plays with his two adorable daughters, and occasionally works as a solo attorney. He has a cat named Marit. He was probably on snow this year before you were.

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