Scott Patterson, Hunter Wonders and Luke Jager got promotions. Michael Earnhart made the squad for the first time. And Rosie Brennan is back for another year.
Alaskans continue to be a force on the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team with Tuesday’s announcement that nine cross country skiers living in the 49th state have been nominated to the 2022-23 team.
Headlining Alaska male distance racers is Scott Patterson, the South Anchorage High School graduate whose career-best results at the 2022 Winter Olympics catapulted him onto the A Team (the highest level of support) for the first time.
Returning to the A Team is JC Schoonmaker of the University of Alaska Anchorage, who emerged last season at the country’s top sprinter.
Brennan, of the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Club, coming off her best season ever at age 34, will be back on the A Team along with star Jessie Diggins and two others.
Hailey Swirbul of APU received a B Team Nomination along with Anchorage’s Gus Schumacher, a Service High School graduate. Both were on the A Team in 2021-22 but struggled at times last season.
Two others were promoted from the Development Team (D Team) to the B Team: Hunter Wonders (of South Anchorage High School fame) and Luke Jager (West Anchorage High School). Jager, a student-athlete at the University of Utah, competed at the 2022 Olympics as a sprinter.
The D Team saw the renomination of Zanden McMullen (South Anchorage High School/ Montana State University) and the addition of Michael Earnhart, 19, a former Alaska Skimeister at Chugiak High School who earned his spot by placing 10th in the 30-kilometer freestyle at the 2022 World Junior championships in Norway.
Alaskans who lost their spots on the USST from a year ago included sprinter Logan Hanneman (B Team in 2021-22) and Kendall Kramer (D Team from Fairbanks).
Meanwhile, Hannah Halvorsen of APU, a D Team member in 2021-22, has retired. She inspired many by making the Olympics two years after suffering massive injuries from being hit by a car while walking in downtown Anchorage.
Twenty-two athletes were nominated to this year’s team. The official US Cross Country Ski Team will be announced this fall, and those nominated are all expected to confirm their participation.
“This team is the largest in U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s XC history, and it could become our most successful one, too,” head Coach Matt Whitcomb said in a press release. “There is clear talent, as well as a history of impressive results, but most importantly, these are individuals from many different clubs in the U.S. that are interested in connecting and believing in one another, and pushing hard. “
The 2022-23 World Cup season starts November 25-27 in Ruka, Finland, and the 2023 World Championships in Slovenia highlight the campaign.
The entire U.S. Ski Team team is listed here: