On March 1, the best snowshoe races from the United States and around the world were greeted by sunshine and the beautiful mountains of Southern Vermont to compete in the 2014 Dion Snowshoes U.S. National Snowshoe Championships – and Cazenovia’s own Jeanette Cudney was among them, earning a prestigious victory.
The races were contested at Prospect Mountain Nordic Ski Area in Woodford, Vt., just eight miles east of the historic village of Bennington. The event drew 385 participants representing 22 states and nine countries from as far as Australia and Spain. It was the largest number ever to compete at the National Championship.
In her second race in snowshoes, Cudney of won the 5k championship race in 26 minutes, three seconds to claim the U.S. Junior National Championship.
Cudney, a senior at Cazenovia High School and standout distance runner on the Lakers cross-country and track teams managed to pull away from her competitors during the challenging steep sections of the course.
Second and third places were earned by two other Upstate New York residents - Rachael Jones of Fairport, near Rochester, and Chloe Mittilio of Paul Smiths, located in the Adirondacks.
The trio of Cudney, Jones, and Mittilio each earned a spot on the U.S. National Snowshoe Team. The team, made up of 16 of the best snowshoers in the country, will have an opportunity to compete in the International Snowshoe Federation (ISSF) World Snowshoe Championship to be held in Europe in 2015. Next year’s Nationals will take place in Eau Claire, Wisc.
Cudney, a Lakers’ senior recently signed her NCAA Division II Letter of Intent to run cross country, indoor track and outdoor track at LeMoyne College.
Other local participants included Eric Sambolec (Ithaca), Cole Crosby (Cortland), Jeff Walker (Tully), Alan Cushman (Cicero), Tim Walczyk (Auburn), James Miner (Dryden), Rick Mazzeo (Skaneateles), Michael Davis (Norwich), Michael Capocefalo (Auburn), Kermit Cadrette (Auburn), Steve Mazza (Utica), Karen Simmonds-Brad (Auburn), Heidi Baumbach (Jamesville), Dawn Leone (Mexico), Mary Jo Kiggins (Auburn), Chary Griffin (Cazenovia), Eric Hulbert (Mexico) and Benjamin Harper (Oswego).