U.S. names 12 athletes to nordic worlds squad


Ten Olympic skiers headline a group of a dozen cross-country athletes named to compete next month in the nordic World Championships in Sapporo, Japan, the U.S. Ski Team said Monday. PARK CITY, Utah — Ten Olympic skiers headline a group of a dozen cross-country athletes named to compete next month in the nordic World Championships in Sapporo, Japan, the U.S. Ski Team said Monday.
    Andy Newell, who produced the first U.S. top three in World Cup racing since 1983 a year ago and currently ranks third in the world sprint standings, heads the team, which includes seven men and five women, U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said.
    The World Championships are scheduled for Feb. 22-March 4 in Sapporo, host city for the 1972 Olympic Winter Games.
    The cross-country squad for the 2007 nordic World Championships team (with age, hometown and Olympics):

Men
Chris Cook, 26, Rhinelander, Wis. (2006 Olympics)
Lars Flora, 29, Anchorage, Alaska (2002, '06 Olympics)
Kris Freeman, 26, Andover, N.H. (2002, '06 Olympics)
Andrew Johnson, 29, Greensboro, Vt. (2002, '06 Olympics)
Torin Koos, 26, Leavenworth, Wash. (2002, '06 Olympics)
Andy Newell, 23, Shaftsbury, Vt. (2006 Olympics)
James Southam, 28, Anchorage, Alaska (2006 Olympics)

Women
Caitlin Compton, 26, Minneapolis, Minn.
Sarah Konrad, 39, Laramie, Wyo. (2006 Olympics)
Kikkan Randall, 24, Anchorage, Alaska (2002, '06 Olympics)
Laura Valaas, 22, Wenatchee, Wash.
Lindsey Weier, 22, Mahtomedi, Minn. (2002, '06 Olympics)

    "This team has the experience, the capacity and the support around them to achieve a lot at these championships," Bodensteiner said. "This team is built around veterans, who are entering their peak years and who are hungry for big results, and who've positioned themselves during the World Cup season for impact performances in Sapporo. There is not a weak link here."

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