Monday, December 18, 2017

Skier of the Week: Frisco

Kit Kat raging up the hill in the Mass Start Classic!
The first race of the year brings many things, nerves, excitement, relief...

This year the first race of the year brought renewal to the UW Team.

Graduation was not kind to us last spring in that we were left with only 3 returning men and 4 returning women. Of these 7 returning athletes only 2 of them had ever been in the top 10 at USCSA Nationals. This is a rough place for the USCSA Mens Team 3-time Defending Champions  and the USCSA Women's Team Runners-up.

Earlier this fall we were encouraged by a new crop of 5 new women and 1 man.These new skiers have been amazing this fall, engaging in practices and fundraising alike. Slowly through their dedication we began to realize we had an amazing team who work together and have the impact across campus and around the community of a much larger group.

Despite the incredible good nature and cohesiveness of this group we still didn't know how they would perform until this weekend and the first race.

This race was a Rocky Mountain Conference USCSA Qualifier with Western State Colorado University, Colorado Mesa University and University of Wyoming attending. The other teams were unable to join us due to final exam schedules.

We were fortunate with all the hard work put in by the Frisco Nordic Center to create a 2.2km loop in an incredibly low snow year. The track was hard and fast and in great condition.

This was the first college race for 4 of our 11 athletes and the first race EVER for our lone freshman man Ben. It was exciting and stressful but they all skied fantastically!

This time of year we are not looking for stunning finishes we are just looking for a solid training race but our skier of the week didn't seem to get the memo.

Katherine (AKA Kit Kat) Gruner (Freshman, Casper) started the interval start skate race with a bang and just pushed on through the weekend with flying colors by winning the USCSA college races on both days!

Kit Kat told us before the weekend that 4km was her idea distance and she sure backed that up with confidence as she squeaked out a win in the 4km skate race over her teammate Ella DeWolf (Junior, Laramie) by only 4 seconds and held off fellow Casper Freshman Maddy Tinker's run up the field from the last row by 30 seconds. Stellar performance for her first ever college ski race! We hope this is the beginning of an amazing season.

Kit Kat is a sparkle both on and off the tracks and we are extremely lucky to have her smiling face.

For these reasons and, we believe, many more to come, Kit Kat Gruner is the Skier of the Week!