Outdoor Center News
Craftsbury Outdoor Center sends 6 to 2018 Winter Olympics
Last Updated: 07.Feb.2018
Six athletes training with the Craftsbury Outdoor Center (COC) will represent the US in Peyongchang, South Korea. Biathletes Susan Dunklee, Clare Egan, and Emily Dreissigacker along with skiers Ida Sargent, Caitlin Patterson, and Kaitlynn Miller will represent the US, Vermont, and the NEK starting this Friday. Four of the six have been skiing with Craftsbury since they were in elementary school as part of the Center's all ages programming. The GRP athletes are headlined by Kingdom locals Sargent and Dunklee, both making their second Olympic starts, having made the 2014 games in Sochi.
Susan Dunklee was the first American woman in any sport to be named to the 2018 US Team following her 6th place in the 15km individual race at the 2017 World Championships in Hochfilzen, Austria. That result was soon topped by a silver medal performance in the mass start event several days later. Dunklee, the daughter of two-time Olympic cross-country skier Stan Dunklee and niece of 1972 Olympic cross-country skier Everett Dunklee, had a previous best worlds finish of fifth earned at her debut in 2012 in the individual race. Since the 2014 Games, the Barton, VT native has climbed the ranks on the World Cup, ranking 10th in the world at the end of last winter. Dunklee skied with the Outdoor Center from an early age, thru her high school stint at St. Johnsbury Academy, resuming training at COC after her Dartmouth College career, having helped the Big Green to an NCAA championship.
Making her first appearance at an Olympic Games will be the 30-year-old Clare Egan. Other than Dunklee, Egan had the best performance of the U.S. women’s team at the recent World Cups, topped by a 35th place in the sprint at Hochfilzen, Austria. Egan, a Wellesley College alum who skied in NCAA competition at the University of New Hampshire while getting her master’s degree, earned her spot on the team last month following her performances at the IBU World Cups in November and December. Clare began training at Craftsbury in 2011 as a skier, competing in her first biathlon in 2013. Following 2014, she was named to the US Biathlon development program, making the A team shortly thereafter. Clare spends much of time in Lake Placid, but has maintained a relationship with Craftsbury thru the years.
Emily Dreissigacker of Morrisville, VT is the third Craftsbury biathlete on the 2018 US Team. Dreissigacker is a member of the US National B team and trains both in Craftsbury and with the National Team in Lake Placid. She too grew up skiing at Craftsbury, with Ida and Susan as charges of coach Pepa Miloucheva. Dreissigacker, 29, also has some Olympic genes in her family. Her mother, Judy Geer, competed in two Olympic Games as a rower (1976 & 1984), her father, Dick Dreissigacker, rowed in Munich in 1972, and older sister Hannah, 31, competed at the Sochi Games in 2014. Skiing at the junior nationals level as a youngster, Emily would follow in her parents’ footsteps, going on to become a two-time All-American in rowing for Dartmouth College and twice competing at the U23 Rowing World Championships. She began her biathlon career in 2015 and has raced on the top-level IBU World Cup circuit this season. Emily clinched her spot on Team USA thanks to torrid shooting, going clean (hitting 20 of 20 targets) and finishing fifth at Arber, Germany.
This will be the second Olympic Games appearance for Nordic skier Ida Sargent of Barton, VT. She previously represented the US in the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, where she raced to a 19th place finish in the freestyle sprint and a 32nd place finish in the 10k classic individual. Like Susan and Emily, Sargent has been skiing for Craftsbury since her early years, when she raced on the Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club as a junior. After racing for Dartmouth College, she joined the GRP in 2009, and since then has become a World Cup regular for the US Ski team. So far this season, her best World Cup result has been a 6th place in the freestyle sprint in Davos, Switzerland. She also finished 3rd in the pre-Olympic World Cup test event in South Korea last season in the classic sprint. Sargent is currently ranked 17th in the World Cup sprint rankings, well within the top 50, which is the objective criteria for Olympic qualification laid out by the US Ski Team.
Caitlin Patterson of McCall, ID will be representing the US in her first Olympic Games appearance. Patterson joined the GRP in 2012 following a collegiate ski career at the University of Vermont. Patterson had a standout week at the 2018 US Cross Country Championships in Anchorage, Alaska, where she was National Champion in all four races: the 10k freestyle, freestyle sprint, 20k classic mass start, and classic sprint (she was runner-up in the 20k classic, but as first American won the National title). She has raced intermittently on the World Cup since 2012, with her best results coming in the pre-Olympic World Cups in South Korea last season, with a 4th place in the 15k skiathlon. She recently finished 20th in a 10k classic individual start in Planica, Slovenia on the World Cup. Patterson qualified for the Olympics via strong results from the early season SuperTours in West Yellowstone and Silver Star, BC, in addition to her standout appearance at Nationals.
Kaitlynn Miller of Elmore, VT, will also be representing the US in her first Olympics. Miller grew up skiing with Coach Pepa Miloucheva as a Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club (and Stowe Nordic) member before spending four years skiing for Bowdoin College. She returned to Craftsbury in 2014 as a Green Racing Project member, and has had a successful four years of racing with the team. In 2015, she won a National Championship in the classic sprint in Houghton, Michigan, and since then has represented the US on the World Cup twice, once on the Ski Tour Canada in 2015, and once last season at World Cup Finals in Quebec City. Kaitlynn placed 1st and 2nd in the opening classic SuperTours in Silver Star, BC, and West Yellowstone, MT. She went on to notch three American podiums at US Nationals in Anchorage, AK in early January. She qualified for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics by virtue of her third place ranking on the Olympic distance qualification list.
Olympic Games begin with Opening Ceremonies on Friday, February 9, 2018. Find schedules online.
Want to get involved with Craftsbury or skiing? We offer ski programming for ages 5 to 85+, and biathlon programming for kids, along with day skiing, rentals and lessons if you just want to give the sports a try. Find out more at www.craftsbury.com.