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!


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