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WC winner Randall leads '09 U.S. cross-country squad

World Cup winner Kikkan Randall, U23 bronze medalist Liz Stephen and sprinter Andy Newell lead a group of 18 racers named to the 2009 U.S. cross-country squad late last week.
    “Last season was one of our best and the training we've done this summer is, I feel, better than we had done last summer," U.S. cross-country head coach Pete Vordenberg said. "So I'm really excited about this coming season."
World Cup winner Kikkan Randall, U23 bronze medalist Liz Stephen and sprinter Andy Newell lead a group of 18 racers named to the 2009 U.S. cross-country squad late last week.
    “Last season was one of our best and the training we've done this summer is, I feel, better than we had done last summer," U.S. cross-country head coach Pete Vordenberg said. "So I'm really excited about this coming season."
    After becoming the first U.S. woman to break into the top three of a World Cup cross-country race and, only a year later, becoming the first woman to win a World Cup last December in Rybinsk, Russia, Randall will lead the women’s roster. Randall underwent surgery in the spring for a dangerous blood clot in her leg but has fully recovered
    "She seems to be ahead of where she was last year," Vordenberg said. "She's definitely the team leader and she has a lot of really talented girls who are right behind her. They'll be pushing her this season for sure."
    Stephen, a student at Utah’s Westminster College, will be back in the hunt again this season after taking home her first international medal at the U23 Championships last February. The Continental Cup squad also includes newcomers Garrott Kuzzy, who at one of his first World Cup competitions, scored a ninth-place finish last January in Canmore, B.C. and Noah Hoffman who managed a 12th-place finish at Junior World Championships in Italy.
    "What's important with a younger crew is they have success at the level they're at," Vordenberg said. "The training that they've done and the testing that they've done, we've seen that they should have continued success at that level."
    Newell, whose second-place finish was his career best, will be heading up the men's World Cup team with Olympians Torin Koos, Kris Freeman and Chris Cook all contending for World Cup and World Championship success.
    "We have seen progress for Andy and for all the World Cup guys. We should see some really good results out of them this year," Vordenberg said.
    The 2009 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team (including date of birth, hometown and club program; * indicates Olympian):

A Team
Chris Cook (6/15/80; Rhinelander, WI; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)*
Kris Freeman (10/14/80; Andover, NH; Andover Outing Club)*
Torin Koos (7/19/80; Leavenworth, WA; Leavenworth Winter Sports Club)*
Andy Newell (11/30/83; Shaftsbury, VT; Stratton Mountain School)*
Kikkan Randall (12/31/82; Anchorage, AK; Alaska Pacific University Nordic)*

B Team
Morgan Arritola (5/13/86; Fairfield, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)
Rosie Brennan (12/2/88; Park City, UT; National Sports Foundation)
Lindsey Dehlin (7/2/84; Mahtomedi, MN; Northern Michigan University)*
Matt Gelso (7/18/88; Truckee, CA; Auburn Ski Club/University of Colorado)
Noah Hoffman (8/1/89; Aspen, CO; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)
Garrott Kuzzy (11/26/82; Hayward, WI; CXC Elite)
Taz Mannix (6/14/86; Talkeetna, AK; Alaska Pacific University Nordic)
Morgan Smyth (2/10/86; Vernon, VT; Northern Michigan University)
Liz Stephen (1/12/87; East Montpelier, VT; Burke Mountain Academy)
Alexa Turzian (8/13/88; Sun Valley, ID; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation)
Laura Valaas (3/2/84; Wenatchee, WA; Alaska Pacific University Nordic)
Lindsay Williams (6/16/84; Hastings, MN; Northern Michigan University)*
Leif Zimmermann (10/3/83; Bozeman, MT; Bridger Nordic)*

    — USSA Press Release

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