Lahti 2017 World Championship Team Named

aus-team-pyeongchang-feb2017

Australian Team at the recent World Cup in Pyeongchang. L-R Randy Gibbs (tech), Jessica Yeaton, Phillip Bellingham, Aimee Watson, Callum Watson, Paul Kovacs, Valerio Leccardi (coach), Paul Moore (tech). Additional athletes in team for Lahti: Barbara Jezersek, Katerina Paul, Nick Montgomery.

In form Aussies selected for World Championships

One of Australia’s strongest ever teams has been assembled to compete at the 2017 Cross Country World Championships, and they will be looking for personal best performances when they compete from 22 February – 5 March in Lahti, Finland.

“We have a really strong team of females and males with several experienced athletes leading our team at the World Championships,” Head Coach Valerio Leccardi said.

“Peaking at the right time, giving athletes fast competitive skis, and having a positive team environment would see some athletes achieve their potential of a top 30 result, and for all athletes to achieve their individual goals.” Continue reading

2017 World Junior-U23 Championship Daily V-Logs

Many AUSXC followers may already be up to date with the progress of the Australian Team at the World Junior/U23 Championships at Soldier Hollow. If not, this linked series of daily V-Logs from the team on Facebook gives a great glimpse of action on the tracks and behind the scenes.
U23 10km Freestyle
Casey Wright and Kat Paul in action again, finding the 10km a lot tougher than the Sprint.
Junior 5km and 10km Freestyle
Lilly Boland, Liam Burton and Seve de Campo all picked it up another level compared to their Classic Sprints, Gabi Hawkins and Jarrah Forrer made their World Junior debut, Ella Jackson was stoked to be on the start line after illness leading in to the championships.
U23 Classic Sprint
Casey Wright and Kat Paul made their U23 Worlds debut, Casey qualified for the finals in 25th place.
Junior Classic Sprints
Lilly Boland, Liam Burton, Seve de Campo and Matt Bull all in action at the World Juniors for the first time.
All results can be viewed via the FIS website. A big call-out also to flyingpointroad.com for amazing action pictures every day – keep a lookout for more via @ausxc and @flyingpoint on Instagram

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Team named for 2017 World Junior/U23 Championship

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Australian Junior/U23 Team training in Sun Valley

Junior Cross Country athletes ready to take on world’s best

Having enjoyed world-class preparation, a team of nine young Australian cross country stars are ready and raring to compete at the 2017 Junior & U23 World Championships in Soldier Hollow, USA.

The team has been based in Sun Valley, Idaho training with one of the best cross country programs in North America – the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF).

“We have been able to train at the same altitude and similar snow conditions to Soldier Hollow with some of the best young North American skiers,” Head Coach Robert Jones said. Three athletes from SVSEF will represent the USA at the championships.

“We also hit the jackpot in regards to preparation as the US Nationals were held at the Soldier Hollow course on the exact same tracks that we will race for the WJC/ U23’s. It was a good experience for our athletes as we could learn the conditions and get used to such a strong field. I would say this is the best preparation a junior team could have really!”

Casey Wright and Katerina Paul are set to make their U23 World Championship debut, having both previously represented Australia at the Junior World Championships.

“World Championships are coming around so quickly,” 20-year-old Paul said.

“I believe I have been set up for the season in the best possible way. I have had a good training base with easier “no pressure races” to warm up into before all my bigger races begin in the later part of the season.

“My overall goals would be to be in the best form possible for my bigger races. I hope I have given myself a good opportunity to do so.”

Making their Junior World Championships debut but no strangers to the world stage are Lilly Boland and Liam Burton. The young duo represented Australia at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, where they both achieved ground-breaking top 30 results.

“Leading into the Junior World Championships, I believe the experience of big stage skiing allows me to be comfortable in important races and knowledgeable of the task ahead, as well as how to approach it,” Burton said.

“After experiencing the level of my competitors and understanding what it takes to ensure a good result for myself and the country, I will be excited to stand on the start line in just over a week’s time for the World Junior Champs.”

The pair will be in good company, joined by 19-year-old Ella Jackson who competed at the 2016 Junior World Championship as well as four other young rising stars in the sport.

With four young men on the team, Australia will enter a junior men’s relay team for the first time since 1995.

“Cross country skiing in Australia is a small sport so we all become close friends through many hours of training and travelling together,” Boland said.

“Having a large team overseas is great in the sense that we motivate and support each other during events such as World Juniors which can be challenging both mentally and physically at times. Training with a larger team also gives me additional motivation during hard sessions so I can match teammates pace and technique.”

For Head Coach Robert Jones, the upcoming Championships in Soldier Hollow are about building for the future as much as they are about achieving immediate results.

“These events give us a chance to see where the level is and what we need to work on to get there,” Jones said.

“We have great training conditions at the National Training Centre at Falls Creek during the Australian winter, and strong domestic races, but it is hard to see how the athletes are going on a world scale.

“Although at this stage we aren’t looking to make podiums in these championships, all our athletes are still progressing and developing in the sport so one day down the track we can have athletes in the top 10’s on World Cup and Olympics. Simply being at these events is a good development process for our athletes as they can see how the best in the world prepare.”

The Championships will take place at Soldier Hollow, USA from 30 January – 5 February 2017.

The Australian Team for the 2017 Junior & U23 World Championships

U23 Athletes: Casey Wright, Katerina Paul,

Junior Athletes: Lilly Boland, Ella Jackson, Gabrielle Hawkins, Liam Burton,  Seve de Campo, Matthew Bull, Jarrah Forrer

Head Coach: Robert Jones

Assistant Coach/Manager: Georgia Merritt

Technicians: Bryan Cook (USA), Tom Smith (USA)

Event Schedule:

  • January 30 – Junior Classic Sprint
  • January 31 – U23 Classic Sprint
  • February 1 – Junior 5/10km Freestyle
  • February 2 – U23 10/15km Freestyle
  • February 3 – Junior 10/20km Skiathlon
  • February 4 – U23 15/30km Skiathlon
  • February 5 – Junior Relays

Follow the Australian Team @ausxc via social media.

2016 World Junior/U23 Report

The 2016 World Junior and U23 Nordic Championship in Rasnov, Romania, will be an event that will be remembered by all nations. The controversy about snow quality and quality of races to be run started a week earlier than the competition. Some nations opted for an early training camp at the race location to acclimatize to the time and altitude. However, unfortunately there was no snow to be skied on and those nations had to resort to dryland training options. Fortunately the Australian team arrived only a short time prior the competition and was mostly unaffected by the poor training conditions.

AUSXC athletes Rasnov 2016

Jackson Bursill, Stella Ajani, Kat Paul & Ella Jackson

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Australian Team for 2016 World Junior/U23 Championships

The 2016 World Junior / U23 Championship will take place in Rasnov, Romania, on February 22-28. Australia will be represented by a team of four athletes; Katerina Paul, Stella Ajani, Ella Jackson and Jackson Bursill, supported by coaches Ewan Watson and Robert Jones.  The team is currently undertaking the final preparations in Seefeld, Austria, before flying to Romania on Thursday.

AUSXC Junior-U23 Worlds Team 2016 #2

AUSXC World Junior / U23 Championship Team 2016: L-R Ewan Watson, Stella Ajani, Jackson Bursill, Katerina Paul, Ella Jackson, Robert Jones.

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Craftsbury races and the joys of travel.

Paul Kovacs. Elite Cross-Country Skier

“This is your captain speaking. There is a Korean Airlines plane blocking the runway and it doesn’t seem to be talking to anyone, we are just going to have to wait till it moves.”

Pretty much the story of my travelling life when it comes to flying to and from the East coast, and especially Vermont.

So before we get to our Korean road block, I had another week of racing out East. To make things interesting for us, all Mother Nature decided to spice things up with some rain. For about 36 hours we had pretty consistent rain. I had moved up to Stowe where we were supposed to race but everything was washed away. Luckily another 40 min north there was a 2.4 kilometre man made loop at Craftsbury Outdoor Centre. They had a decent amount of snow and some extra piled up, which they pushed out and made into a…

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East Coast Racing.

Paul Kovacs. Elite Cross-Country Skier

Global warming is one serious pain in the butt! We are in-between Supertour weekends here on the East Coast. I’m inside drying out after doing intervals in heavy rain. The paddocks and fields are green and brown dotted with the odd patch of white. The snowstorm that battered parts of the east coast never came north to Vermont or the upper half of New York State where things are desperate.

IMG_8323 No snow in sight driving into Middlebury

So far this year I’ve only raced on two courses that have been natural snow, all the other courses have man made. Strips of white through green and brown forests.
On the 26th I flew down to Vermont from Alaska and hired a rental car. After 13 hours of travel I wasn’t super psyched to drive but I managed to find my way to New York State and a good friend’s house. An…

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