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Competitor Hot List: Dion USSSA Championship Nationals

This is an update on athletes qualified to compete at the Dion Snowshoes USSSA 2011 National Snowshoe Championships March 11 – 13, Cable, Wis. These summaries were provided in an interview with USSSA Sports Director, the infamous Mark Elmore.

Mark cautioned, “These names do not necessarily reflect if the individual will be racing the championship course, but it is a guide on who might be there.” Also, there are names not listed here who are very likely to win age class categories and contend for medals, so do not fret if you’re not listed; use it as motivation to pass somebody.

We started with the home region for the 2011 edition of the nationals:

North Central Region

1. Kelly Mortenson – Male – Minnesota: 1st place at Whitetail Ridge 10km race in River Falls, WI and 1st place at Boulder Lake 10km race in Duluth, MN. Kelly is a two time member of the U.S. Natl Senior Men’s Snowshoe Team (2007 & 2009).

2. Rebecca Sauber – Female – Wisconsin. Rebecca won the Whitetail Ridge 10km race in River Falls, WI.

3. Becky O’Hearn – Female – Minnesota: Becky won the Boulder Lake 10km race in Duluth, MN.

4. Kevin Tarras – Male – Michigan: Kevin won the largest race in the National Series this season, the Bigfoot Boogie 10km race in Traverse City, MI.

5. Erin O’Mara – Female – Michigan: Erin won the ladies 10km race at the Bigfoot Boogie in T.C. MI this season.

6. Blossom Marimpietri – Female – Illinois. Blossom won the ladies 10km race at the new Glacial Park race in Ringwood IL.

7. Jason Ruesch – Male – Wisconsin: 1st place in the Twin Cities Snowshoe Shuffle 10km race in Minneapolis, MN.

8. Carla Stoner – Female – Iowa: Carla finished 2nd in the Ringwood IL regional race.

Other notable North Central athletes eligible to compete in the 2011 Nationals in WI:

a. Scott Gall – Male  -Iowa: Scott is the reigning 2010 US Natl Senior Men’s Runner-Up and has been a member of the U.S. National Senior Men’s Snowshoe Team three times (2010, 2008, 2007). Scott is also a USSSA BORAD (Board of Regional Athletic Delegates) member.

b. Greg Hexum – Male – Minnesota: Greg is a three time member of the U.S. National Senior Men’s Snowshoe Team (2010, 2007, 2006) and was the U.S. Natl Senior Men’s Snowshoe Champion in 2006 and 2007! Greg is also a USSSA BORAD (Board of Regional Athletic Delegates) member.

c. Erin Ward – Female – Minnesota: Erin finished 3rd at the 2010 Senior Women’s National Snowshoe Championships and is a two-time Natl Senior women’s Snowshoe Team member.

Northeastern Region

1. Jeffrey Beck – Male – New York: Jeff won the Mendon Winterfest 10km race in Mendon, NY. He is a two time member of the U.S. National Senior Men’s Snowshoe Team (2007 & 2008).

2. Michelle Weiler – Female – New York: 1st place at Mendon Winterfest 10km ladies race in Mendon, NY. She is a member of the 2010 US National Senior Women’s Snowshoe Team.

3. Kevin Tilton – Male – New Hampshire: Kevin won the Sidehiller Race in Sandwich, NH.

4. Amber Ferreira – Female – New Hampshire: Amber is the reigning 2010 US Senior Women’s National Snowshoe Champion. She won the Sidehiller Race in Sandwich, NH.

5. Cathy Pedtke – Female – New York; Cathy won the Northern Vermont 8km Snowshoe Challenge at the Smuggler’s Notch Resort in Jeffersonville, VT.

6. Tim Van Orden – Male – Vermont: Tim won the Camp Saratoga 8km regional race in Wilton, NY

7. Janice Morra – Female – New Jersey: Janice won the Pennsylvania State Snowshoe Championships regional race in Drums, PA.

Other notable Northeastern athletes eligible to compete in the 2011 Natl Snowshoe Championships:

a. Aaron Robertson – Male – New York: Aaron was the 2005 U.S. National Senior Men’s Snowshoe Champion.

b. Bob and Denise Dion – Vermont: The founders of Dion Snowshoes are the title sponsors of the US National Snowshoe Championships for the 2011-2014 editions. Both are avid long time snowshoe racers.

c. Rich Busa – Male – Massachusetts: “Mr. Snowshoe!” Rich is 81 years old and has medaled in 6 of the 10 NC editions! Rich is a USSSA BORAD member.

d. Courtney Tedeschi – Female – New York: Courtney is a member of the current 2010 US National Junior Girls Snowshoe Team.

e. Kellie Gregoire – Female – New York: Kellie is a current member of the 2010 US National Senior Women’s Snowshoe Team.

Rocky Mountain Region

1. Mark Burgess – Male – Colorado: Mark competed in three regional races this season finishing 2nd overall at the Swift Skedaddle race in Silverthorne, CO, 3rd overall at the CO State Snowshoe Championships in Leadville, CO and won the Low O2 race in Red River, NM.

2. Cheryl Paulson – Female – Colorado: Cheryl was the 2010 Senior Women’s National Snowshoe Championship Runner-Up. She has posted a 2nd place finish at the Swift Skedaddle Race in Silverthorne, CO, 2nd in the CO State Snowshoe Championships in Leadville, CO and won the Low O2 Race in Red River, NM.

3. Darren Brungardt – Male – Colorado: Darren finished second at the Love Me Tender Race in Frisco, CO.

Other notable Rocky Mountain athletes to look for at the 2011 Nationals in WI:

a. Mark Rickman – Male – Colorado: Mark is a current USSSA BORAD (Board of Regional Athletic Delegates) member and has competed in the last 9 consecutive US National Snowshoe Championships (out of the events’ 10 editions).

b. Bob Bolton – Male – South Dakota: Bob was a member of the 2009 US Natl Senior Men’s Snowshoe Team.

c. Brandy Erholtz – Female – Colorado: Brandy is also a member of the USSSA’s BORAD and was the 2009 US Senior Women’s National Snowshoe Champion.

d. Kelli Lusk – Female – Colorado: Kelli is a member of the USSSA’s BORAD and was the 2003 US Senior Women’s Natl Snowshoe Champion and has earned 4 berths on the US Senior Women’s National Snowshoe Team.

e. Laurie Lambert – Female – Texas: Laurie assists the USSSA as the Regional Snowshoe Race Coordinator and has earned two berths on the US Senior Women’s National Snowshoe Team.

Western Region

1. Marianne Chandler – Female – Nevada: Marianne finished 2nd overall in the Northstar Resort 10km race in Truckee, CA.

2. JP Donovan – Male – California: JP won the 10km race at the Northstar Resort Race in Truckee, CA.

3. Michael Reneau – Male – Oregon: Michael took second overall in the 8km White River Race on Mount Hood in Oregon.

4. Jared Scott – Male – Arizona: Jared, who finished 6th overall in the 2010 US Senior Men’s Snowshoe National Championship race and started his season off with a win at the Kahtoola Race in Flagstaff, AZ.

5. John Bogen – Male – Arizona: John earned a 4th place finish at the Flagstaff AZ race and then went to Midway UT to run to a second place finish in the Kahtoola Snowshoe Festival race there.”

There are always surprises at the nationals; that is one of the reasons they are great fun and difficult competitions. Watch for them. The fight to make the USSSA Men and Women’s National Teams — the first five overall in each class — is especially fierce . . . and entertaining. The most difficult finish in the championship race is sixth overall in each class as it is a spot so close yet so far away from joining the National Team.

The racecourse is going to be fun and a good challenge while providing spectators with many good vantage points. Minneapolis’ Mark Hubred, racing along with his Junior son entry, Clayton, practiced on the layout and said the spectators can view the start, then move to a position near the entrance road to watch as racers complete the loop through the tunnel, and then move toward the finish to view snowshoers passing by and then completing the race. “My favorite part is the single track in the tunnel loop where there are numerous switchbacks in one section and it is tight. There is going to be a lot of strategy in that section.” He also said PC Rasmussen and his group have “done a nice job on everything controllable.”

So, take plenty of Wilderness Athlete vitamins to stay healthy, rest plenty, get to Lakewoods Resort early so you can relax, attend all of the USSSA activities like the reception and post race dinner — they are really fun, not to be missed, and I’m not much for affairs like these — visit each vendor, you will surprised what you can learn, meet everyone you can, and watch the other races when you are not in them. And, give thanks in your own appropriate way that you get to enjoy — have the health — participating in such an event as this in the out-of-doors. As heard in the Sound of Music, “These are a few of my favorite things . . . .”

USSSA: www.snowshoeracing.com

Dion Snowshoes: www.dionsnowshoes.com

Write: phillipgary@snowshoemag.com

Read this in your relaxing time:
HARMONIZING: Keys to Living in the Song of Life by phillip gary smith. A chapter that might be appropriate for this race . . . “Winning by Losing.” www.iHarmonizing.com

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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

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