Western’s Nordic Team opened their season this weekend at Grand Mesa, at a race hosted by Colorado Mesa University. Saturday’s race was 1.5k Skate Sprints on the Mesa. The Sprints are a team favorite and even with a partial team, Mountain Sports athletes were ready to get a race in after months of dryland training. For the women, Shelbie Ralston had an impressive finish, winning the B Final and taking 6th place overall. Samantha Maddox was in the same B Final and was on track to finish head to head with Ralston, but an unfortunate fall held her to 9th place overall. On the men’s side, Cameron Smith was the only athlete in attendance, as it is still Winter Break here at Western. Cam put forth a strong effort and finished 18th overall.
On Sunday, the Grand Mesa Nordic Council hosted their annual 10k on the Mesa. This consistently rolling and winding course is another favorite of the team. This year, the discipline was Classical Technique, and with some new snow that had fallen overnight, conditions were perfect for easy kick, and the freshly groomed track was in the best condition it had been in years for this typically windy and frigid race. Cameron Smith was the first Western finisher in the Mass Start 10k Classic. Finishing 18th over and 12th for the RMC Collegiate Men with a time of 43:49, it was an exceptional start to the season for Smith. Right on Smith’s tails, was Samantha “Bob” Maddox with a 19th place overall finish and 4th for the RMC Collegiate women with a time of 44:01. Shelbie Ralston had begun to feel under the weather that morning and had a bout with some stomach issues during the race, but still finished with a time of 55:43 and 13th place for the RMC Collegiate women.
As a season opener with a partial squad, the Western State Nordic Team rang in the New Year with a bang at the Grand Mesa Nordic Races. Their next race weekend is January 24-25th at the Stagecoach Classic at Devil’s Thumb Ranch.
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