Bend Wins as Middaugh and Howe Sock Chasers on the Chin

Was it warm, or was that just the heat from Josiah Middaugh and Stephanie Howe racing by at their zoom-fast championship pace, winning their respective Men’s and Women’s championships in sizzling fashion?

Josiah Middaugh leads the field down the tough course's signature hill

Josiah Middaugh leads the field down the tough course’s signature hill

Vail’s Josiah Middaugh dominated the Dion Snowshoe USSSA National Championships March 16, 2013 in beautiful Bend, OR. His natural speed combined with Bend’s lower 4,000ish ft altitude—about half that of his home—propelled him to a 47:08 victory, the only competitor to break 50 minutes.

2013 USSSA Natls StephanieHowe 2 JOE VIGER PHOTO

Bend’s own Stephanie Howe spends one hour winning the DION Snowshoes USSSA Women’s National Championship

Eric Hartmark is the real deal even in this higher altitude from his Duluth, MN home’s 1000 ft or so. He cruised to a 50:04 hit at the line, slightly more than a minute ahead of home favorite Mario Mendoza while Cole Crosby of Cortland (51:55) nailed the fourth spot on the USSSA National Team. Sturgis’ Ryan Phillips motored across the line with his cycle of 52:16, triumphing the fifth and last spot.

National superstar Brandy Erholtz once again earns the DION Snowshoe USSSA National Team with her silver medal

National superstar Brandy Erholtz once again earns the DION Snowshoe USSSA National Team with her silver medal

Bend’s best, Stephanie Howe, won the Dion Snowshoe USSSA National Women’s Championship in nearly a sub-one-hour, just missing by 14.8 seconds. In a tough race, Brandy Erholtz stalked the deer-like effort of Howe, but fell short in her silver finish at 1:02:47. Hot on her heels chased Carolyn Stocker, Westfield, just 5 seconds later, for the bronze. Dolores Bergmann of Chester nailed a USSSA National Team membership with her fourth in 1:03 while Christy Runde, Brush Prairie, locked the fifth and last slot in 1:06 about two minutes ahead of a great effort by former Junior Girl’s champion, Michayla Heil.

Rounding out the top-ten women, Carrie Zografos shined for Portland while Montreal’s Claire Doule landed eighth. Lake Oswega’s Myra Klettke secured ninth at 1:14, less than a minute ahead of the Phillips, WI, Qualifier’s RD, Kristi Speer. Melissa Tekippe also of Phillips missed the tenth spot by less than 60-seconds.

"The Legend" Richard Busa wins enough gold medals to re-stock an Oregon mine

“The Legend” Richard Busa wins enough gold medals to re-stock an Oregon mine

Kudos to Jeana Kuczmanski, Park City, for pushing to her 2:29 finish, providing courage and inspiration for all of us. Earlier came Jeanette King, Bend, 2:06, Kathe Amos, Gladstone, 2:05 and Diane Levesque, Rochester first over two hours in 2:01.

Finishing out the men’s top-ten, Portland’s Daniel Prahl just missed a national team membership by less than two minutes. Charlie Nowacki, Arvada, took lucky seven though Nicholas Scalfone, Mountain View, chased him in. Eric Sambolec, Ithaca, made Ulysses proud in his ninth slot while Alaska’s Chad Carroll, in his first championship race since 2006, nailed a class Silver Medal for his efforts of a top-ten finish. Plus, he got a mention in Snowshoe Magazine . . . I’m just saying . . . .

2013 USSSA Natls ChristieRunde Joe Viger Photograph

Christie Runde on her way to claiming another spot on the 2013 DION Snowshoe USSSA National Women’s Team

The Phillips’ contingent, one of my favorite cities particularly since they spell it with all the “L’s,” saw Jordan Neeck winning a double 1 (11th) and a class gold medal. Note Snowshoe Magazine’s Kris Borchardt, our 2013 ringer, grabbed his first-ever class gold medal and became the last finisher (17th) under one hour.

Always tough and always a winner, Richard Busa, Marlboro, claimed a 2:26 time while Jim Kauffold, Belmont, crossed in 2:29. William Peterson showed Vancouver’s verve with an honorable 2:12 time.

Snowshoe Racing Paul Smith's College style: All Out! What a photo!

Snowshoe Racing Paul Smith’s College style: All Out! What a photo!

Look at those racing who list Paul Smith’s College as their home in the Adirondacks: The championship 10K included Lea Anthony, Jack Mulvihill, Eric Kowalik, Christopher Peterson, David Kucia, Mike Cerasaro. In the 5K, Louis Ferrone, Ashley Evans, Corrie Desilets (Junior results with cities unavailable to me). In 2014 watch for a huge contingent as the DION Snowshoe USSSA National Championships will be held in . . . Vermont!

Looking every bit like a battleship, the layout of the 2013 course.

Richard Bolt offered this photo of the layout of the 2013 course; looks like a mountain battleship ready for attack. Bolt acted as co-race director, social media leader and a course designer for the DION Snowshoes USSSA Snowshoe National Championships

Another participant in this race . . . the course, of course. Laid out by the night stalkers sadistically placing a big climb early in each of the two 5km loops, these nasty ups and slick downs really took the breath away. Some, like Middaugh and Erholtz, were reporting it fun; well, it is the Dion Snowshoe USSSA National Championships, right? Sports Director, Mark Elmore, wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Go see Joe Viger Photography – This link takes you directly to his many snowshoe photos and races including this event; you may be in them! My favorite is his Outside gallery. You’ll have to see it to believe it. Access it through the link above.

About the author

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 motorsport. 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.
Write to him at, or find him on Twitter or Facebook @iHarmonizing.

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