U.S. Ski & Snowboard has announced the 21 athletes of the Davis U.S. Cross Country Ski Team for the 2021-22 season who will kick off the competition season with the traditional World Cup season opener in Ruka, Finland, Nov. 26-28.
The chemistry of this year’s team features an exciting mix of youth and veteran talent, highlighted by an experienced group of World Cup, World Championship, and Olympic athletes, including Olympic gold medalist and 2021 FIS Overall World Cup Champion Jessie Diggins; two-time World Cup winner Rosie Brennan; and 2020 FIS Junior World Championship double-gold medalist Gus Schumacher.
“We’ve had many high-functioning teams over the years, and every one of them has been quite different from the next,” noted Davis U.S. Cross Country Team Head Coach Matt Whitcomb. “We’ve also been through periods when the team has drifted through less-functional phases. Results are definitely affected by chemistry. At the moment, after two of the most-productive camps (Bend, Oregon in May and Park City in October) of my career, we’re on fire. This new team is a bit younger and incredibly loyal to one another. While we’ve been through one of our biggest waves of retirements, I think the absences will be filled quickly.”
Simi Hamilton, Sophie Caldwell Hamilton, and Sadie Maubet Bjornsen all retired from the team following the 2020-21 season, taking more than four decades of experience with them. But, all three left a lasting impression upon current team members who average 22.8 years old among the 21-member team. For the 2021-22 season, Brennan and Diggins are now considered veterans of the team, despite their youthful ages, 32 and 30 respectively. “It’s a young team, which means things are always high energy and exciting but also less predictable with so many racing World Cup for the first time,” Brennan said. “I know everyone has had a good prep season, and so I have nothing but optimism for the season to come. I just hope I can stay hip enough for the young crowd!”
With two in-person camps during the prep season, including a number of club team camps scattered around the U.S. and Europe this past summer, the athletes have had an opportunity to train independently, but come together as a team to push each other, and encourage each other no matter what training plan, training philosophy, or ideas they bring to the table.
“One thing that jumps out to me as new and improved is that this new team is a little more accepting of individual differences in training plans,” Whitcomb said. “In theory, with 21 athletes, we should have 21 different plans. Just a little judgment from a coach or athlete about one’s plan can be unproductive, and right now, I think everyone is embracing and supporting the importance of these differences.
“Everybody contributes something to this team in their own way,” he added. “It’s going to be a good season!”
Based upon the gains from last season, Whitcomb certainly has every reason to be optimistic! Schumacher, who just two years ago was a member of the Development Team, moved from the B Team to the A Team following a break-out season that included more than a dozen top-30 World Cup results, including the best-ever American men’s result at the Tour de Ski. JC Schoonmaker, who was on the Development Team last season, also joins Schumacher on the A Team this season after posting numerous top 30 World Cup results. Diggins, Brennan, and Hailey Swirbul, who picked up her first career World Cup podium last season, were also named to the A Team.
B Team athletes include Julia Kern, Katharine Ogden, Kevin Bolger, Scott Patterson, Logan Hanneman, and Sydney Palmer-Leger, the 2020-21 NCAA Champion who moves up from the Development Team.
The 2021-22 team features 10 Development Team athletes, including numerous members with junior and U23 World Championships medals to their credit. Zanden McMullen joins the Development Team this season following his results at the 2021 Junior World Championships, including a fifth-place result in the 10k skate. Also returning to the Development Team are Sophia Laukli, who competed in her first World Cup races, and the 2021 World Championships this past season; and Hannan Halvorsen, who scored her first World Cup points last season.
The 2021-22 FIS Cross Country World Cup season kicks off with Period 1, Nov. 26-29 in Ruka, Finland. The 2022 Olympic Winter Games are scheduled for Feb. 4-20 in Beijing.
Rosie Brennan (Anchorage, Alaska; Alaska Pacific University Ski Nordic Center; 12/21/88)
Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.; Stratton Mountain School Elite Team; 8/26/91)
Hailey Swirbul (Aspen, Colo.; Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center; 7/10/98)
Gus Schumacher (Anchorage, Alaska; Alaska Winter Stars; 7/25/00)
JC Schoonmaker (Tahoe City, Calif; University of Alaska Anchorage/Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Academy; 8/12/00)
Julia Kern (Waltham, Mass.; Stratton Mountain School Elite Team; 9/12/97)
Katharine Ogden (Landgrove, Vt.; Stratton Mountain School Elite Team; 11/17/97)
Sydney Palmer-Leger (Park City, Utah; Sun Valley Gold Team/University of Utah; 2/4/2002)
Kevin Bolger (Minocqua, Wisc.; Sun Valley Gold Team; 4/11/93)
Scott Patterson (Anchorage, Alaska; Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center; 1/28/92)
Logan Hanneman (Anchorage, Alaska; Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center; 6/2/93)
Hannah Halvorsen (Truckee, Calif.; Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center; 2/19/98)
Novie McCabe (Winthrop, Wash.; Methow Valley Nordic Team/University of Utah; 12/15/01)
Kendall Kramer (Fairbanks, Alaska; Alaska Winter Stars/University of Alaska Fairbanks; 6/25/02)
Sophia Laukli (Yarmouth, Maine; University of Utah; 6/8/00)
Johnny Hagenbuch (Ketchum, Idaho; Sun Valley Gold Team; 10/1/2001)
Luke Jager (Anchorage, Alaska; Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center/University of Utah; 1/17/00)
Noel Keeffe (Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club/University of Utah; 8/24/99)
Zanden McMullin (Anchorage, Alaska; Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center/Montana State University; 5/31/2001)
Ben Ogden (Landgrove, Vt.; Stratton Mountain School Elite Team/University of Vermont; 2/13/00)
Hunter Wonders (Anchorage, Alaska; Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center; 8/7/98)
Cross Country Program Director: Chris Grover
Head Coach: Matt Whitcomb
World Cup Coach: Jason Cork
D Team Coach: Kate Jonhson
Development Team Coach: Greta Anderson
Cross Country Sport Development Manager: Bryan Fish
Cross Country Sport Coordinator: Adam St. Pierre
Communications Manager: Tom Horrocks
Head of Service: Oleg Ragilo
World Cup Service: Bjørn Heimdal
World Cup Service: Tim Baucom
World Cup Service: Eli Brown
World Cup Service: Chris Hecker
World Cup Service: Karel Kruuser
2021-22 FIS World Cup Schedule 2022 Olympic Winter Games Schedule