New Senior National Championship Trophies Unveiled by USSSA

The United States Snowshoe Association acknowledges two of its finest champions and medalists by naming the Senior Women’s and Men’s National Championship Trophies in their honor. Mark Elmore, USSSA Sports Director, announced the Senior Women’s National Championship Trophy will be known as “The Cynthia Brochman Senior Women’s National Championship Trophy.”  The Jeremy Wright Senior Men’s National Championship Trophy has been awarded since 2005.

Mark said, “Recognizing and immortalizing Cindy and Jeremy in this manner makes these championships even more coveted as we enter our second decade of snowshoe racing. Both represented the best our sport has to offer. The championship winners at our annual national championship race symbolize the dedication  and love of the sport and the USSSA by Cindy and Jeremy.”

Cindy was a two-time representative on the USSSA National Women’s Team in 2005 and 2006 and a BORAD member. She hosted the 2007 National Championships in the Twin Cities, attracting coverage for the sport now showing itself in a major metro. The  two 3.1 km “butterfly loops” racers traversed were a fan’s delight as the throng passed the infamous pedestrian bridge five times including the finish. Leading into the races, the area was brown as the cover had melted away. Yet, she was able to demand of Mother Nature to provide plenty of snow, which occurred on cue with two back-to-back blizzards. A few days after the Nationals had left town, the snow disappeared like a movie set being disassembled.

She discovered the myo fibroblastic sarcoma in Mid-December, 2008, and attacked it with her own brand of homeopathic care and humor. Interviewed by Chad Austin in his “Running Minnesota” series, Cindy quipped, “I have been doing chemotherapy since January 1st. Happy New Year …” She revealed, “I am inoperable, which is different than most cancer patients. Why did I have to be so different? I guess it is because I am so strong and because there is a plan. Now, I need to find and follow the plan.”

Cindy was a natural in anything athletic with a strong will to win, much like she attacked her disease, yet she tempered losing with the idea that she obtained the best possible of results under the circumstances. Her teams were legends in the Hood to Coast races, and I remember her detailing plans and times for those races. She was extremely proud of the successful 2007 Twin Cities National USSSA National Championships where Tim Zbikowski,Carol Klitzke along with husband, Kevin, all put forth a yeoman’s effort.

A compelling memory was a reception and fundraiser in her honor in 2009. She wore a flamboyant hat, and showed more strength than all in the room combined. She bravely raced with all the power she could muster the 2009 Snowshoe Shuffle USSSA Qualifier. Jim McDonell, Race Director of the Braveheart Snowshoe Series, said that day, “She had a smile beaming from ear-to-ear. She is a very positive person and inspiration to us all.”

I wrote, “Just having her here to race with all today no doubt booster her spirits — you could see it in her eyes. But the lift she gave to all who know and admire her for the grit and determination required to do this was incalculable. It made us  appreciate even more the opportunity to be in the beauty of the outdoors, racing along on snow, breathing the fresh air, being with those who enjoy the same experience.”

At the world’s largest and competitive snowshoe race, the famed La Ciaspolada in Italy, Cindy holds the highest finish yet on snowshoes — 12th in January, 2008 — for a U.S. woman. (Top photo, awarded at La Ciaspolada. Second,Cindy and Christian Thompson, NY, awarded 2007 La Ciaspolada)

The winners of the Cindy Brochman Senior Women’s National Championship Trophy will be representing the sport of snowshoeing, and their accomplishment, too, but also will be in some way carrying on the traditions and strength she espoused.

Sgt. Jeremy Wright was killed in action as a Green Beret fighting in Afghanistan, January 2, 2005. Adam Chase, a USSSA BORAD member wrote in his tribute in the May 2005 edition of Running Times,   “I will always remember first meeting Jeremy. He must have been a year out of Wabash College, running the Sky Marathon in Aspen, where he had gone out, and up, at a rapid pace. He certainly had the leg speed, but the altitude and distance must have been a bit much, because he was faltering late in the race. When I passed him around mile 22 he couldn’t have been more friendly and encouraging. Here was this attractive young guy just beaming with support, wishing me the best when most people would have been cursing under their breath.”

Adam said that Jeremy “was not one to draw attention to his athletic accolades . . . (he was) the shy, humble type . . . a silent hero.” A true hero, Jeremy was also an honors student, and before accepting his entrance into medical school, went off to help battle terrorism in the post September 11, 2001, patriotic wave. (Third photo with back row, L, Roger Busch and Scott Gall. Front Jeremy Wright and Busch’s nephew, Cole Smith)

He set the record for the Mt. Evans Ascent, over 14,000 feet, not only because of his strong conditioning, but also deep focus and personal confidence. Adam shared a comment by Matt Carpenter, “arguably the most accomplished mountain runner ever . . . Carpenter says Jeremy was willing to stand up for what he believed in beyond what was best for himself. Bottom line, he was willing to put it on the line . . . .”

USSSA National Team Member and BORAD member, Scott Gall (see photo, winning the 2009 Jeremy Wright), one of the closest to Jeremy remembered, “He was very intelligent and very driven, which probably was why it was hard for the rest of us to even start to figure him out.  He was  thoughtful and yet very simple.  In a time when mountain running and snowshoeing were just beginning to grow, Jeremy knew he loved the sports solely because he loved them, not because others did.  Therefore, he threw himself into running trails both with and without snow in a manner few can even fathom. 

As I tagged along, I realized the joy and peace he found doing so.  It wasn’t unusual for us to run a three hour long run and only speak for 15 minutes of it.  And I learned to love that.  Jeremy was the toughest and kindest man I’ve ever known.  He ran for the purest reasons of pushing himself and being outside when most were hibernating inside, and I wish our sport could have more people doing it for those simple reasons.  He was the most decorated snowshoer I’d known. I have no doubt  the trend would still be going if he were still with us.”

Jeremy raced the 2001 inaugural USSSA National Championship in Plattsburgh, New York, capturing a Silver medal for his 54:31 finish. Traveling from Colorado, he was the only entrant in the class west of Michigan.

The snowshoer who wins the Jeremy Wright Senior Men’s National USSSA Championship will be honoring himself, the sport, and through Wright’s memory, the drive and desire to represent the USA on a world stage, one safer due to the ultimate sacrifices he and others made on our behalf.

Winners of these awards will be determined through the National Championship Races to be held  in Cable, Wisconsin, at the Lakewoods Resort March 11-13, 2011. The presentation honors will follow the race.

More information, contact the USSSA:

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author, HARMONIZING: Keys to Living in the Song of Life

La Ciaspolada photos: Courtesy Mark Elmore, USSSA

Jeremy Wright & friends, Courtesy Sarah Gall

Scott Gall Wins 2009 Jeremy Wright: Courtesy Wabash College

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About Phillip Gary Smith

Phillip Gary Smith, Senior Editor, published "The 300-Mile Man" about Roberto Marron's historic doubling of the Tuscobia 150 mile endurance snow run. He publishes "iHarmonizing Competition" on various forms of competition including drag racing, his favorite motor sport. Earlier, he wrote "HARMONIZING:Keys to Living in the Song of Life" as a manual for life with chapters such as Winning by Losing, Can God Pay Your Visa Bill?, and a young classic story, The Year I Met a Christmas Angel. His book, "Ultra Superior," is the first written on the Superior Trail ultra distance events. He mixes writing with his profession--the venture capital world--a dying art. He is a creator of CUBE Speakers, a group espousing themes in "HARMONIZING:Keys" in a unique way. Currently he has two books in the works. Twitter: @iHarmonizing