Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Skier of the Week: Cowboy Chase and Laramie Loppet

This weekend was one of the hardest for skiers and coaches. We were in charge of timing, organizing and running the Wyoming High School Nordic State Championships AND we hosted our own home races. It takes true grit to just get through the weekend at all and to have a good race is almost beyond imagining.

Despite this we did have some good performances both on and off the trails and there was intense competition for being skier of the week but Leann saved the best race, before Nationals that is, to the last.

Leann was one of only two athletes who came up early to setup the for the State Meet on Friday morning. She helped all morning and then proceeded to be the announcer for the race all day and then went to the banquet that night to recruit the next generation of UW Nordic Skiers. After a short night of sleep she then drove the team up on Saturday morning to start it all again.

The weather was not kind to us on Saturday with wind and extreme cold and after standing and working all morning it was tough to even start skiing the warmup for the sprint. There was some grumbling but Leann warmed up and just decided to see what would happen. What would happen was nothing short of awesome!

The sprint consists of a Preliminary Round where everyone starts in 30 second intervals. The results from this round will place skiers into 5 heats of 6 skiers who will then go head to head with the first two in each heat and the next two fastest times going onto the next round. If an athlete makes it to the final round she will have skied the 1.3km loop 4 times at full speed.

Leann started the rounds in a good spot, finishing 4th in the Qualifier. She skied comfortably in the Quarterfinals and easily moved onto the Semi-Finals. At this point it looked like her heat was stacked with all the fast women but she skied easily into 2nd in her heat which set her up for the Final top 6 women. She was super excited because the rounds had been quite easy for her thus far but the final was a different story with all the big guns in one heat trying for a podium finish.

Leann skied a very smart and fast race making a strong move for 2nd in the final stretch barely edged out for a 3rd, her first ever College podium on her last weekend of College racing! She crossed the finish line all smiles and hugs. An amazing finish after two days of standing in the freezing cold!

Leann is poised for Lake Placid as this event is exactly the format of the sprint at USCSA Nationals. We're all looking forward to at least an All-American finish in this race and possibly others. She's headed into next week in the best shape of her college career and backed-up by a women's team ready for the challenge.

As you can tell Leann is a great skier with potential to shine at Nationals but her ski skill is dwarfed by her leadership and organizational abilities. She has taken a team of people who did not know each other, were new from different places and as the 2018 Team President turned it into a cohesive unit that has surpassed every expectation both on and off the ski trails. She has kept this team moving forward with all the hidden organizational tasks, has lead on the ski trails and has inspired the freshmen.

With this amazing skill set we are excited to see where Leann goes after her graduation in May!


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Skier of the Week - DU Invitational

Morgan finishing the Classic Race.
Photo Credit David James
This week's Skier of the Week has been a long time coming.

Morgan came to us as a transfer student from Lander where she helped coach the High School team and did amazing things in Archeology. She almost didn't ski but a well timed contact from Trevor got convinced her and she's been solid every since. In the first workouts in the fall of her first year she could barely keep up and often had to walk. This didn't sit well with Morgan and she worked hard to improve her fitness and by the time she was on skis she was able to race reasonably. I remember the first time I thought she was really going to accomplish something with skiing was in the sprint race at Nationals last year when I gave her a split and she growled in response and put on a burst. It's been all improvement from there.

She did a much better job of training this summer and came back this fall in a completely different place from last fall. Ready to hit the ground running and take a leadership role on the team.

This winter she started towards the back of the women's team with a couple of slower races but she has gradually climbed up the rankings until her points now rank her 3rd on the team and she has placed in the top 10 for the last two races. We think she will continue to move up the conference rankings and will have great finishes at Nationals.

Not only has she improved every week this season she has improved a truly incredible amount from last season! Her overall points this season are already well below her points from last year and there are many races to come. Her meteoric rise is almost impossible to believe.

Not only has Morgan shown incredible improvement in her skiing but she is the UW Nordic Treasurer, is our representative on the Club Sports Council and is a true leader in the classroom. She is an incredible scholar who excels in the classroom, in research and as an example to the younger athletes.

We are truly excited to see where she goes in the next few weeks and at Lake Placid Nationals and after her graduation in the spring. We secretly hope we can get her into a graduate program so she can ski another year!

Morgan, you ROCK OUR WORLD!!!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Skier of the Week! Alley Loop/Western State Colorado University Invitational/University of New Mexico Invitational

Trevor and Mason chasing the leader in the 21km

It was a beautiful weekend in Crested Butte. So little snow for the area but more snow than we've seen for quite awhile! The snow situation in Colorado and New Mexico is so bad that the University of New Mexico had to move their home invitational to join us in Crested Butte. The first joint NCAA Division I AND USCSA Qualifer! It made for an exciting weekend!

As is the case every weekend several people could have been named Skier of the Week. Maddy, Rylie, Kat, Ben & Michaela who all finished their first 21km with flying colors. Ella who crushed the USCSA field and placed 19th in the Division I field. Mason who has started feeling a tad more healthy and won the 5km Classic USCSA race by just 2 seconds.

All these were great performances but we are going to focus on Trevor, his fantastic race and his journey to get there.

For the past two summers Trevor has done all he can do to become a better skier. Last summer he had to return to Casper for a job but still traveled to Laramie to train with the team as much as possible. His trips with the team were magical as we finished long bike rides, 5 hour runs and adventures all over Colorado! While this was amazing and fun he wasn't around all the tie and he spent much of his time training on his own with dedication and determination.

While he has had a stellar season, the best yet, he had yet to have that amazing breakthrough race. He need wait no longer, this was the race!

He told us after the race that though he often thinks he can win a race he didn't think about this one. He just wanted to get in the race and see how it went and it went well! He started at a good pace, not too fast but fast enough to keep him in the race. He relaxed and skied and watched as skier after skier fell to his raging pace. After one lap he had caught the entire USCSA field except for one person and he was doing damage to the Division I field. In the last 5km he caught the last USCSA skier to take the lead. He didn't stop there but kept pushing to see how close he could get to the Division I leaders. He won the USCSA race by 20 seconds

It was a brilliant race that showed in a wide variety of ways as he had his very first win in USCSA, best place in the Division I race (only 9% back!), and had his career best points in a skate race! Everything he has worked so hard for was achieved!

The 5km classic was on Sunday and Trevor was back in action. While it didn't go as well as the day before he still had a stellar race with his best classic points of this season placing 4th in USCSA, 34th in Division I and he broke the 200 point mark for the first time this season in both races.

We know this is just the beginning of a beautiful peak and we are excited for the next two race weekends and Nationals!

Trevor you ROCK OUR WORLD!!!!