Western Mountain Sports seasons winding down this spring

Climbing team qualifies for Nationals

By Kieran Nay, Western Mountain Sports Coordinator

This past week in Mountain Sports we saw Western Cycling travel to Durango to compete against Fort Lewis College, Trail Running finished their season at the Desert Rats Trail Festival in Fruita and Climbing qualified two athletes for nationals in Fort Collins. 

Down in Durango, the Mountaineers had a challenging opening day in the criterium with no one making the podium. The team rebounded in the road race on Sunday with athletes Christian Hansen and Jack Fanselow placing second and third in the Category B race. Teammate Cody Conner placed second in the Category C race. The team will look to finish their spring season off strong next weekend at the Whiskey Off-road in Prescott, Arizona.

Out on the trails west of Fruita the Trail Running team took on their final race of the season at the Desert Rats Trail Festival by UTMB. This was the most competitive race of the spring season with competitive fields in both the 50k and 21k distances.

In the men’s race Nate Rengo led the way with an incredible top 10 finish in four hours and 24 minutes. Teammates Toler Wilson and Colin Cooper rounded out the top 20. Kyle Hoffman, Skyler Dalziel and Grayson Lee all fought through hot weather and relentless sun to finish the 50k distance. In the women’s race, senior Rachel Whitmore ran a gutsy race, leading the way for the Mountaineers for 25 miles before ultimately pulling the plug due to the heat and stomach issues. Teammate Solomyn Collen ran an intelligent and patient race to finish first for Western in six hours and 41 minutes. Teammate McKenzie McConnel was close behind in six hours and 52 minutes.

The next day the Mountaineers took to the trails one last time in the 21k event. Mountain Sports alumni Brian Whitfield, Jeshurun Small, yours truly and head coach Josh Eberly took second, third, seventh and ninth place, respectively. Western athlete Frank Decew was not far behind finishing in 14th. 

For the women, it was Sam Iverson who finished first for the Mountaineers in a time of two hours and 29 minutes. Marya Nay was the final finisher for Western battling through heat and nausea to finish in just under three hours.

On the other side of the mountains, Western Climbing qualified two athletes for the USA Climbing’s Collegiate National Competition for the first time in university history. Athletes Alex Oram and Lukas Lowe both qualified through stiff competition while teammate Ceci Davies missed qualifying for nationals by one position. Oram qualified in the Bouldering discipline while Lowe made it in the Sport climbing discipline. Nationals will be held on May 24-26 in Gilbert, Arizona. 

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