On January 29th, Colorado Mountain College in Leadville hosted the United States Snowshoe Association (USSSA) Collegiate and Junior National Championships. It was a gorgeous sunny day with over 50 youth racers participating in the national event. This year, however, was unique in that the 2022 Colorado Cup Snowshoe Race was held concurrently with the championship and included an additional 22 racers competing.
The day was one for the books with an absolutely breathtaking but incredibly challenging course! At 10,150 feet above sea level, it was an elevation that would get your heart pumping. All racers endured a very steep route that included a rough 1.5-mile uphill climb. As a spectator, not one finisher didn’t appear absolutely exhausted from this demanding course!
Collegiate and junior racers participated in a 5k loop. In addition, members of the public competed in the same loop in the open 5k and 10k Colorado Cup races.
The last USSSA National Snowshoe Championship also took place at Colorado Mountain College in 2020, just a few short weeks before the U.S. implemented closures due to COVID. Since the 2021 race was canceled, it was refreshing (pun intended) to see snowshoer racers back on the snow for the 2022 championships.
Racing teams from across the state came out to participate in the event. For example, teams included Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs, Central High School in Grand Junction, and students from Colorado Mountain College itself.
In addition to individual and team awards, the top 5 racers in each category received All-American honors. Moreover, the top 5 overall join the USSSA Junior National Team for competition on the international level.
National Championship Race Results
Cedar Collins from Cheyenne Mountain took 1st place in the High School Boys Division. He had the overall fastest time in the 5k of all racers, finishing in a whopping 21:00.14. In High School Boys, Collins was very closely followed by Tyler Stogsdill and Jackson Edwards, both of Central High, at 21:25.67 and 21:35.11. The participants in the High School Boys Division excelled on this course. The top 9 finishers in this division received the fastest times of all 5k racers.
In the High School Girls Division, Trystian Spence finished 1st with a time of 26:29.37. Jocelyn Olson and Cora McClain, at times of 30:46.49 and 33:34.22, followed Spence. Both Spence and Olsen were part of the Central High team, while McClain
was from Cheyenne Mountain.
Of the nine racers that competed at the collegiate level, Jason Macaluso of Colorado Mountain College finished in 1st place in College Men’s Division with a time of 24:31.93. Andrew Allen of Dixie State University and Reese Fledderjohn of Colorado Mountain College placed 2nd and 3rd with times of 25:44.55 and 27:47.47
Natalie Hyde with the University of Colorado placed 1st in the College Women’s Division with a time of 31:47.49. Then, she was followed by Abby Hagen, Madisen Johnson, and Anne Mawhinney, all part of the Colorado Mountain College team.
Colorado Cup Race Results
In the open 5k event for the Colorado Cup, Joel Thatcher of Grand Junction placed 1st overall with a time of 30:52.42. Julia Fuller of Buena Vista, CO, followed Thatcher. She was 1st in the women’s division of the Colorado Cup 5k with a time of 31:13.05. Amy Crowder of Alamosa, CO had the 3rd fastest time in this division with a time of 32:51.61.
Brandon Birdsong of Alamosa, CO, finished 1st in the 10k with an incredible time of 47:16.68. Cory Linfield and Dan Vega, both of Colorado Springs, followed Birdsong, with times of 50:12.63 and 53:34.39. The 1st finisher in the 10k women’s division was Stacey Hendry of Arvada, CO. She finished fourth overall in the 10k was a time of 1:09:12.
Get Ready for the Open National Championships
For those who missed this event, fear not, as more snowshoe championships are on the way! The United States Open Snowshoe National Championships, presented by Performance Medicine, will take place on March 13th, 2022, in Cable, Wisconsin. With no qualifiers or membership requirements to compete, it is an excellent opportunity for all racers to get on the snow.
Under new leadership, the United States Snowshoe Association, and new USSSA Sports Director, Jackie Hering, are getting ready to close out a successful 2022 winter season. In fact, the Open National Championships are the same weekend as the Fat Bike Birkie, the premium snow bike event on the continent. So, you can enjoy a weekend of snow sport fun in Northwoods, Wisconsin!
Did you participate or attend the Junior and Collegiate Snowshoe Championship? Moreover, will you be joining the Open Championship in Wisconsin? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.