Three athletes who got their start in Central Cross Country Skiing were nominated this week to the 2018-19 U.S. Cross Country Ski Team. Olympic champion Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.) returns to lead the A Team. Ian Torchia (Rochester, Minn.), now skiing out of the Northern Michigan University program, remains on the D Team. And Kevin Bolger (Minocqua, Wis.) moves onto the B Team.
The nominations were announced by U.S. Ski & Snowboard this week. Final team naming for the coming season will be confirmed this fall.
Diggins, who came out of Stillwater High School and now trains with Stratton Mountain School, had her best season ever with strong finishes in every Olympic event including the gold with Kikkan Randall in the team sprint. She went on to finish second in the World Cup – both in sprint and the overall.
Diggins raced in CXC programs for several years before moving up to the national team.
Bolger had one of his strongest seasons ever, finishing second in the SuperTour. His results earned him a first-ever World Cup start, competing in the final races at Lahti, Falun, Drammen and Oslo. In his debut World Cup in Lahti, he finished 11th in the freestyle sprint. He also picked up a SuperTour sprint win last February in Ishpeming, Mich.
The Minocqua native was a product of Lakeland Nordic Ski Team under the legendary coach Ken Schoville. After high school he began training with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, then went on to a stellar career as an All America selection at the University of Utah and helped the Utes to the 2017 NCAA skiing title.
Bolger’s strong 2018 season earned him a first-time berth on the U.S. Ski Team, qualifying for the B Team.
Torchia was re-named to the D Team following another good season. He completed his third year of eligibility for the NMU Wildcats in style, winning the NCAA title in the 20k freestyle and was earned All America honors. He also posted three top-10 finishes in the SuperTour as well as a berth on the U23 World Championships Team.
“Growing up in the Midwest provided a great base for starting Nordic skiing,” said Torchia. “I started skiing on the Rochester Nordic Ski Team when I was five years old chasing around my brother and the other 10 members of the team. Now, RNST has over 200+ members and provides a fun and supportive environment to start and succeed in skiing.”
In his sophomore year in high school, he qualified for the U16 NENSA Championships and competed in classic for the first time. A year later he picked up a Junior Nationals win and an invitation to NMU from coach Sten Fjeldheim.
“It’s honor to see athletes come out of our CXC programs to continue to achieve success,” said CXC Executive Director Yuriy Gusev. “And it’s a big testament to our Midwest Division clubs like Loppet Nordic Racing, Rochester Nordic Ski team, NMU, Stillwater High School and Lakeland Nordic Ski Team for providing such a strong start for these athletes.”
The U.S. Cross Country Ski Team has an extensive summer training program planned – both on-snow and dryland. It opens competition this November with sights also set on the 2019 World Championships to be held in Seefeld, Austria next February.