• 14 Vt. athletes off to Olympics
    By
     | January 27,2014
     
    Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff File Photo

    Liz Stephen, of East Montpelier, in the front of the pack, once again will represent the U.S. at the Winter Olympics.

    Jackie Hernandez of Londonderry isn’t a household name. But that soon may change with today’s announcement of the U.S. team that will compete at next month’s Winter Olympics.

    Two winters ago, the teenage snowboard cross athlete who first slid about nearby Mount Snow in kindergarten had grown to climb the ranks of the World Cup circuit. Then she bumbled and broke her arm.

    “Injuries happen,” she said at the time, “and I am determined to get strong again.”

    Did she ever: The now 21-year old qualified this past weekend to travel to Sochi, Russia, with a national team set to include 13 other Vermonters — a dozen of them women.

    The reigning Olympic gold-medal moguls skier, Hannah Kearney, 27, of Norwich, is set to return for her third Winter Games — just one of several Green Mountain Girls reuniting on the slopes.

    Two-time medalist Kelly Clark of West Dover (gold in 2002 and bronze in 2010) will be competing in her fourth Olympics at the senior-stateswoman age of 30.

    Fellow two-time medalist Hannah Teter of Belmont (gold in 2006, silver in 2010 and celebrating her 27th birthday today) is hoping to nab her third medal at her third Winter Games.

    Snowboard cross 2006 silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis, 28, of Stratton is aiming for her second medal at her third Olympics.

    Vermont is sending four cross-country skiers: Sophie Caldwell, 23, of Peru (following in the tracks of her ski-coaching father, ski-racing mother and Olympian grandfather and uncle); Ida Sargent, 26, of Orleans; Liz Stephen, 27, of East Montpelier; and — yes, men, you will be represented — Andy Newell, 30, of Shaftsbury.

    The state has two on the biathlon team: Hannah Dreissigacker, 27, of Morrisville (daughter of Judy Geer, rower at the 1976 and 1984 Summer Games, and Dick Dreissigacker, rower at the 1972 Olympics); and Susan Dunklee, 26, of Craftsbury (daughter of Stan Dunklee, a 1976 and 1980 Olympic cross-country skier).

    Two other local women are set to make their Olympic debuts: 16-year-old slopestyle snowboarder Ty Walker of Stowe and 20-year-old freeskier Devin Logan of West Dover.

    And with Sunday’s last-minute naming of the U.S. Alpine ski team, Vermont added one more man to its roster: Nolan Kasper, 24, of Warren.

    kevin.oconnor@rutlandherald.com

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