The Western Colorado University Nordic Team traveled to Laramie, WY last weekend to compete in the final Rocky Mountain Conference races of the season. The races were hosted by the University of Wyoming and included a classic team sprint relay on Saturday and 21km skate race on Sunday. Western’s athletes finished the regular season strong with numerous wins and podium finishes.
For Saturday’s classic team sprint, teams of three skiers completed three laps each of a 1km sprint course. In the men’s race, Western’s team of Gordon Gianniny, Elliot Shaw, and Tyler Haroldson finished third among the USCSA teams. The Western women’s team of Rya Berrigan, Lexie Abric, and Anna Johnson continued their domination of the Rocky Mountain Conference with a 40 second win over the second place University of Wyoming team. Western’s second team of Megan Bamford, Lindsey Kastelle, and Caroline Benney skied a consistent race to finish 8th.
Western athletes continued to impress in Sunday’s 21km skate race. Rya Berrigan skied to a commanding win in the women’s race, finishing over a minute ahead of the Air Force Academy’s Becki Bryant. Teammate Lexie Abric skied to an outstanding third place finish, followed by Anna Johnson in fourth. Freshmen Lindsey Kastelle, Caroline Benney, and Megan Bamford finished the day in 11th, 16th, and 19th places respectively. The women’s team score of eight points secured them the team title for the day. In the Men’s race, Freshman Albert Hesse put in a strong finish to place fourth overall, followed by Senior Gordon Gianniny in 6th. Senior Derek Hill was close behind in 7th place, closing out the men’s team score with 14 points. Sophomore Tyler Haroldson was the next Western athlete across the line in 9th, followed by Elliot Shaw in 12th, Cooper Roquet in 13th, and Josh Jones in 18th. The men’s team placed second for the day, just one point behind the University of Wyoming.
After the conclusion of Sunday’s race, it was time for the overall conference awards for the season. Sophmore Anna Johnson earned the women’s individual title for the season, with teammate Rya Berrigan taking second. The women’s impressive set of team results also secured them the team title for the season. On the men’s side, Senior Derek Hill made the podium, coming in third for the season. The men’s team finished second overall in the conference, three points behind the University of Wyoming.
In the coming weeks, Western athletes Anna Johnson, Rya Berrigan, Lexie Abric, and Derek Hill will be representing the United States at the World University Games in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. The remainder of the team will head to Jackson, WY for the USCSA National Championships on March 12th-16th.