Photos – David James
The Western Nordic Team hosted their home races last weekend in Crested Butte in conjunction with the Alley Loop Nordic Marathon. Teams from Colorado Mesa University, The US Airforce Academy, the University of Wyoming, and Colorado College traveled to CB to compete in a 21km skate race on Saturday and a 6.8km classic race on Sunday. Western’s athletes skied exceptionally well throughout the weekend and posted some impressive results on both days.
Saturday’s 21km skate race started in downtown Crested Butte, with athletes skiing through the streets and alleys before heading out onto the groomed trails north of town. In the women’s race, sophomore Anna Johnson skied a strong race to finish second. Freshman Megan Bamford was the next Western skier across the line in 12th place, followed by Lindsey Kastelle in 15th and Caroline Benney in 18th. The women’s team score of 27 points secured them a third place finish for the day. On the men’s side, Freshman Albert Hesse led the team in his first race for Western with a 5th place finish. Senior Derek Hill was close behind in 7th, and Senior Gordon Gianniny rounded out the scoring for Western in 10th place. Freshman Cooper Roquet finished 13th for Western, and Sophomores Ty Haroldson, Elliot Shaw, and Josh Jones skied to 14th, 15th, and 19th place finishes. The men’s team score of 16 points left them tied for second with the University of Wyoming.
The team was back in action the following morning for a 6.8km classic race at the Crested Butte Nordic Center. The men’s race got underway first, with Hill leading the Western Team in 5th place. Gianniny skied to an 8th place finish, with Hesse close behind in 9th. Haroldson, Shaw, and Jones finished in 13th, 14th, and 15th places respectively. The team finished the day in second with 19 points. The women’s race started soon after the men in increasingly windy conditions. Johnson skied another impressive race to take the win, edging out teammate Rya Berrigan by ten seconds. Johnson and Berrigan were nearly 50 seconds ahead of the 3rd place finisher. Sophomore Lexie Abric skied a consistent race to finish in 9th place, closing out the scoring for Western. Bamford, Kastelle, and Benney skied to 11th, 15th, and 19th place finishes. The women’s score of 12 points wrapped up an excellent weekend of racing with a team victory for Western.
The team will spend the next two weeks focusing on training before heading to Laramie, WY for the last conference race of the season on February 16th. After that, four Western athletes will travel to Krasnoyarsk, Russia for the Winter 2019 World University Games. The remainder of the team will head to Jackson, WY for USCSA Nationals in mid-March. Stay tuned for updates!