ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Team USA announced Friday who made the final cut for the Olympic cross country skiing team, and among the hopefuls number multiple Alaskan athletes. It includes seven with listed Alaska hometowns, and two more, siblings Erik and Sadie Bjornsen, who ski at Alaska Pacific University.
The full list, posted on the Team US website can be found below:
Sadie Bjornsen, Winthrop, Wash. (11/21/1989) *
Rosie Brennan, Park City, Utah (12/02/1988)
Sophie Caldwell, Peru, Vt. (3/22/1990) *
Jessie Diggins, Afton, Minn. (8/26/1991) *
Rosie Frankowski, Anchorage, Alaska (7/30/1991)
Anne Hart, Stillwater, Minn. (8/20/1992)**
Kaitlynn Miller, Craftsbury Common, Vt. (8/09/1991)
Caitlin Patterson, Anchorage, Alaska (1/30/1990)
Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, Alaska (12/31/1982) *
Ida Sargent, Orleans, VT (1/25/1988) *
Liz Stephen, East Montpelier, VT (1/12/1987) *
Erik Bjornsen, Winthrop, Wash. (7/14/1991) *
Patrick Caldwell, Lyme Center, N.H. (2/18/1994)**
Simi Hamilton, Aspen, Colo., (5/14/1987) *
Logan Hanneman, Fairbanks, Alaska (6/02/1993)
Reese Hanneman, Anchorage, Alaska (12/25/1989)
Noah Hoffman, Aspen, Colo. (8/01/1989) * **
Tyler Kornfield, Anchorage, Alaska (2/09/1991)**
Andy Newell, Shaftsbury, Vt. (11/30/1983) *
Scott Patterson, Anchorage, Alaska (1/28/1992)
* Competed in past Olympics
** Selected via Coach Discretion
According to the new list, seven out of the 20 skiers are from Alaska, making the state the highest in the nation for cross country skiing participants. Vermont will be sending the next biggest group of athletes, with five selected. The Bjornsen's hometown is listed as Winthrop, Washington, but the siblings have skied at Alaska Pacific University in recent years.
For almost all of the Alaskans headed to Pyeongchang, this will be their first Olympic games. Kikkan Randall is the only Alaskan skier selected for the 2018 games who has previously participated in the Olympics.
In a phone interview, Rosie Frankowski said she found out she made the team at the beginning of this week as she was on her way to Vermont for a competition.
"When we were driving in like the middle of nowhere Vermont, I had a phone call, they'd left a voicemail 'cause there was no service, it was the head coach of the U.S. team telling me I had earned a spot on the Olympic team, I honestly was completely shocked," Frankowski said.
Among the Alaskans making the cut are several pairs of siblings: Sadie and Erik Bjornsen, Caitlin and Scott Patterson, and Logan and Reese Hanneman.
On U.S. Ski & Snowboard's website, both Bjornsens commented on going to the Olympics together.
"It is a pretty unique and amazing experience to have my brother beside me. Erik and I have been working beside each other since we were young kids racing each other to the finish line. The Olympics were just a dream for us for so long and here we are in a whole new dream as we are headed to the Games with goals of winning Olympic medals!" Sadie wrote.
Erik wrote, "There is no other skiing event that compares to the Olympics. It’s hard to describe how amazing it is to be a part of the team. After placing fifth in the team sprint in Sochi, I’m headed to PyeongChang to fight for a medal. It’s also very exciting to know my sister has a shot at a medal. I’m looking forward to watching her achieve a life-long dream."