Leichty, Mattilio win national snowshoe titles

A contingent of 15 Paul Smith’s College snowshoe team members traveled to Ogden, Utah last week, and two Bobcats returned home as national champions.

The PSC snowshoers, known as the Striders, competed Saturday and Sunday in the United States Snowshoe National Championships, and Matt Leichty and Chloe Mattilio claimed national titles for PSC.

Leichty earned his championship in the junior men’s 5k race Friday at Powder Mountain. After holding on to second place for about two thirds of the race, Leichty won after battling back and forth with Justin Miller of Lake Oswego, Oregon. He took the victory in 20 minutes, 58.4 seconds, and got the job done racing at altitudes reaching 9,000 feet. Miller grabbed the silver in 22:38.5, and Jonah Thompson of Albuquerque, New Mexico finished third in 25:08.1.

For his 5k victory, Leichty was honored with the Nic G. Pendl trophy, named after a PSC student athlete who died on campus in 2014 as a result of a medical complication. Leichty then went on to win the junior men’s half marathon Sunday at Snow Basin, finishing the 13.1-mile course in 2:18:00 in his first attempt racing at that distance.

Mattilio grabbed her national championship by winning the women’s grueling 26.2-mile marathon, crossing the line in 5:14.42. She topped one of the nation’s most successful ultra-marathon runners, Nikki Kimball, of Bozeman, Montana, who finished runner-up in 5:17:09.

Paul Smith’s also had four more men competing Saturday at Powder Mountain in the 10k race, and Joe St. Cyr had the top finish among the Striders, placing 10th in 46.29.6.

Also for Paul Smith’s: Matt Williams placed 31st, Lewis Lolya finished 53rd and Quinn Jordan was a spot back in 54th place. Eric Hartmark was the men’s 10k champ with a finish time of 41:09.3

In the women’s 10k race, Corrie Desilets was the top Strider, taking 27th in 1:17:31.4. Lauren Brieant was 31st in 1:26:46.2, Sarah Butler placed 32nd in 1:27:38.9, Lenore Marcuson was 39th in 1:42:59.3, and Bianca Fournier finished 40th in 1:49:46.8. Anna Mae Flynn was the women’s 10k winner in 49:57.6.

On Sunday, St. Cyr placed fourth in the men’s half marathon, finishing in 1:48:44. Zack Miller of Vail, Colorado was the men’s half marathon champion with a 1:36:30 finish time.

PSC also won the women’s relay title Sunday as four athletes – Brieant, Marcuson, Butler and Desilets – combined to finish the 4×2.5-mile race ini 2:30:34.

There was also a men’s marathon held Sunday, and two Striders coaches completed the course with Robert Bolton finishing in 4:29:48 and Louis Ferrone III crossing the line in 4:30:00. Scott Gall of Cedar Falls, Iowa was the men’s marathon champion with a 3:54:42 finish time.