The United States SnowShoe Association (USSSA) National Snowshoe Teams represent the top in snowshoe racing.
Five women and men earn their positions on the senior teams from their finishing positions in the Senior Championships. More than 30 qualifying events across the country race in a season to determine those eligible to compete at the national championships.
For 2015 the event moves to the Midwest at Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s Lowes Creek County Park, the site for the Rumble in the Jungle qualifier since its founding in 2007. The race weekend commences February 27 with racing Saturday February 28 through March 1. The 2015 group races to determine the new team members.
Note the husband and wife team of the Gall family both earning National Team slots with Sarah and Scott.
Three young men and young women earn membership on the Junior Teams. Junior racers enjoy two age classes: 15-19 make up the Junior A group while 14 and under compose the Junior B group. The top three overall Junior Boy and Girl finishers earn spots on the National Team.
The 2014 Junior Women’s Team consists of the following outstanding athletes: Jeanette Cudney, Cazenovia, New York; Rachael Jones, Fairport, New York; and Chloe Mattilio, Paul Smiths, New York.
The 2014 Junior Men’s Team consists of the following outstanding athletes: Mitchell Ryan, Plattsburgh, New York; Carter Stripp, Williamstown, Massachusetts; Zach Marshall, Hinesburg, Vermont.
For 2014, a new National Snowshoe Team, the inaugural U.S. Master’s Women’s and Men’s National Snowshoe Teams, earned a place in the spotlight. Each class named three.
For the women, the winners included Anita Ortiz, Eagle, Colorado; Karen Simmonds-Brady, Auburn, New York; and Jennifer Chaudoir, Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The Men’s Master Teams consists of St. Paul, Minnesota’s Kelly Mortenson, Massachusetts’s James Pawlicki, and Dave Dunham of Bradford, Massachusetts.
The only way to make these teams: qualify to race the national championships, race the championship event, and end very close to the front of the pack for your class. For 2014, the front seven of the women’s class made the Senior Team including sixth and seventh slots who earned master designations. So number eight finisher, Whitney Dreier, Santa Fe, New Mexico held the toughest spot…just out of making the team.
The men’s team enjoyed international snowshoe racers that complicated the team process somewhat. Essentially the first racer crossing the line qualified to make the team, yet didn’t, turned out to be No. 9, Daniel Craighead, State College, Pennsylvania.
The best way to insure a team membership? Finish in the top five. Easy to write, much, much tougher to execute; that’s what makes it fun.