Nordic team wins 3x5k relay, alpine skier Bryant takes ninth place
Western State College (WSC) alpine and Nordic skiers traveled to Maine to compete in the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships and came home with some impressive results.
The WSC Nordic team proved they are among the best in the nation with several podium finishes and a men’s national title in the 3x5k relay. The races took place in Black Mountain, Maine.
According to coach Duncan Callahan, the trio of Scott Krankkala, Tom Sunderland and Chris Lange skied perfectly to win the 3×5 kilometer relay in a time of :40:05.1. They edged out rivals University of Wyoming by a mere eight seconds to secure the national title for the event.
“The race was a tremendous accomplishment for these skiers and for Western State College,” coach Callahan said.
Krankkala also skied to the top individual results for the team with a third-place finish in the 8.5 kilometer skate race posting a time of :23:42.4. Sunderland finished eighth with a time of :23:54.0.
The women’s team showed some impressive results as well. Jamie Woelk skied to two sixth place finishes in the 8.5-kilometer skate (:27:57.7) and the 15k classic (:53:14.2). Brittney Perkins, the lone senior skiing at Nationals, skied well in the 8.5 kilometer skate with an eighth-place finish (:28:09.4). Perkins was fresh off skiing in the first 50-kilometer race of her career just days before with the American Birkebeiner in Wisconsin, the biggest Nordic ski marathon in the United States.
Combined the men’s team finished fourth in the nation, with the women finishing in seventh.
Callahan reported that Ali Gulick rounded out the scoring for the WSC women by skiing smoothly in several of the events. He also said that Sage Smith proved he could ski at the national level by producing several significant results of his own.
Six of the seven Nordic skiers will be returning to ski for the team next year.
“We are optimistic about next season,” Callahan said. “We’ve shown we are a force on the national stage and our future is looking very bright.”
Dylan Bryant was the lone skier for the WSC alpine team who qualified and competed at Nationals this year. He did his best to represent Western well with a ninth-place overall finish. The alpine competitions took place in Sunday River, Maine.
“I was happy with my results and very impressed with the high level of competition,” Bryant said.
Bryant took sixth place in the slalom and twelfth in the giant slalom. He was awarded second team all-American honors. Bryant was the second top American skier in his field. Most of the top skiers he competed against were Europeans who are attending American universities.
Alpine coach Eric Grand is proud of Bryant and his results.
“Dylan did really well at Nationals, and we are happy that he represented Western State College in Maine,” Grand said.
Bryant skied on Western’s NCAA team for two years, until the program was cut for financial reasons in 2008. He left to continue skiing at the NCAA level at the University of Nevada–Reno for one year but then returned to Western for his final year of collegiate skiing, a decision he is happy about.
“I love Western and it was great to finish out my collegiate career here,” said Bryant.