The Western State Colorado University Mountain Sports Nordic Ski Team recently competed at the 2016 USCSA National Championships in Lake Placid, NY. Despite low snow and warm temperatures, the team excelled and posted numerous season-best results. The race organizers did an outstanding job with the conditions they were dealt and created a fantastic 2.5km loop, made entirely of man-made snow. All of the races were held on this loop, including a 6-lap 15km mass start classic race, and a 3-lap 7.5km interval start skate race, with Western’s top competition coming from the University of Wyoming, St. Olaf College, and Clarkson University.
The first day of competition (Tuesday, March 8th) was the 15km mass start classic race and the Western men skied splendidly with freshman Cameron Moore leading the way in 5th place. Moore was followed by his teammates Isaiah St. Pierre in 10th, Cameron Smith in 12th, Kevin Geisen in 13th, and Gordon Gianniny in 16th. This placed the men’s team in a solid 2nd place for the team scoring on the day. Incredible! On the women’s side, junior Samantha Maddox placed a solid 12th place and barely missed out on All-American honors.
The race course conditions deteriorated between Tuesday and Wednesday, but once again the race organizers did a masterful job getting the course ready for racing. Wednesday, March 9th was the 7.5km interval start skate race, and the Western men performed tremendously. Isaiah St. Pierre led the way with a strong 5th place effort, followed by Cameron Moore in 8th, Cameron Smith in 9th, and Kevin Geisen in 10th. The men placed 2nd in the team standings once again. Samantha Maddox landed in 12th place again with another solid result on the women’s side.
After a training day on Thursday, competition resumed on Friday, March 11th with the 1.3km skate sprint. This race followed the traditional format of a qualifier sprint in the morning, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals to sort out the final finish order. Sophomore Kevin Geisen skied better throughout each round and finished with a very strong 2nd place result. For Geisen, this was an incredible improvement over last year’s result. Behind Geisen, the Western men were led by Cameron Moore in 7th place, and Isaiah St. Pierre in 11th to round out the scoring and land the team in 2nd place for the overall team standings. Samantha Maddox put up a strong result by finishing 17th overall in the women’s race.
Saturday, March 12th was the final day of competition – the team relay, and the Western Men factored heavily in the race by finishing in 3rd place behind the University of Wyoming, and Clarkson University. This result secured Western’s overall team placing of 2nd place in the Nation for the entire National Championships. The team improved greatly compared to the previous year and is proud of this overall team result, as well as the 10 All-American awards handed out during the week. The USCSA is becoming more competitive each year, with larger fields of athletes and more qualified competitors. Western is up to the challenge and aims to be the best program in the Nation by the end of the 2017 – 2018 season. Here’s to boldly pursuing and achieving that goal. #GoWestern