Wednesday, April 25, 2012

US announces squad for the NACAC Mountain Running Championships

Nancy Hobbs and I just completed the following press release announcing which US athletes will be competing in the North American, Central American & Caribbean (NACAC) Mountain Running Championships on July 21 outside Vancouver, BC.  Nancy will be attending the event as a representative of the World Mountain Running Association.  I will be travelling with the athletes as team leader for the US Mountain Running Team.  My friend Adrian Lambert from the Canadian Mountain Running Team is helping to organize the event.  Details of the race, which is also open to the public, can be found at   

U.S. Team Announced for the NACAC Mountain Running Championships

The 2012 NACAC Mountain Championships will take place at Cypress Mountain, just north of Vancouver, BC, Canada, on Saturday, July 21, 2012.  This is the ninth consecutive year that the NACAC Mountain Championship have been held, with the event rotating being the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. This is the third time for Canada to serve as host, having been the venue for the championships in 2007 & 2010 (Canmore, Alberta).

Cypress Mountain Ski Area was one of the venues at the 2010 Vancouver/Whistler Olympics. The proposed course is an all-uphill course that will be approximately 10k in length with approximately 1000 meters of climbing.

This uphill-only NACAC Mountain Championship follows the pattern of the World Mountain Running Championships with odd-numbered years being up and down races and even-numbered years being uphill races.

Meet the team members:


Maria Dalzot, 24, Morgantown, WV, (pictured below) is the defending NACAC Mountain Running Champions. She was a member of the 2007 Junior U.S. Mountain Running Team (USMRT) that took the silver medal at Worlds in Switzerland.  Dalzot competed for the West Virginia University Cross Country team that won the Big East Championships in 2007 and placed top ten at NCAA Cross Country Nationals.  She is currently a graduate student at West Virginia University.  More recently, Dalzot won the 2011 NACAC Mountain Running Championships in Ajijic, Mexico and finished second in the 2011 USA 10km Trail Running Championships in Laurel Springs, NC.  Dalzot runs for Team Inov-8.

Brandy Erholtz, 34, Evergreen, CO, is a four-time member of the U.S. Mountain Running Team and qualified for her most recent USMRT by placing third at the Mt. Cranmore Hillclimb in a photo finish.  In 2011, Erholtz’s results included a third place at the Dolomite Sky-Race, fourth at the Grand Prix Harikiri Race, fourth at the Mt. Kinabalu Climbathon and first at the 2012 America's Uphill – a winter snowshoe race in Aspen, CO.

Amber Moran, 33, Arden, NC, placed 7th at the USA Mountain Championships at Mt. Washington in 2010 and 5th in 2011 at the USA Mountain Championships at Mt. Cranmore.  In 2009, she took fourth at the USA 10k Trail National Championships and finished third at the 2011 NACAC Mountain Running Championships in Ajijic, Mexico. Moran is a two-time winner of the challenging Shut-In Trail Race and The Bear Hill Climb in NC.  She has a speedy mile personal best of 4:44, works as a school nurse and runs for Team Inov-8. 

Michele Suszek, 29, Littleton, CO, made her first U.S. Mountain Running Team last year with a second-place finish at the USA Mountain Running Championships; a race won by eventual World Mountain Running Champion Kasie Enman.  Suszek finished 21st at the 2011 World Mountain Running Championships.  More recently, she ran a 2:46:40 at the 2011 Omaha NE Marathon for the win and ran a 2:40:33 at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston – good for 43rd place.
Suszek is the 2012 USA 50 Mile Trail National Champion having run a 7:25:41at the Nueces 50 mile race in Rocksprings, TX, in March.


Joe Gray, 28, Newcastle, WA, finished 10th at the World Mountain Running Championships (WMRC) in 2010 leading the U.S. men’s team to its first ever team silver medal. At last year’s Championships Gray finished 11th and was a scoring member on the bronze-medal USA team in 2008.  In 2009, Gray was the USA Mountain Running Champion and was named the men's USA Mountain Runner of the Year in 2008, 2009, and 2010.  Gray is the first male to win the NACAC Mountain Championship three times with victories in 2009, 2010, and 2011.  Gray’s recent results include a 1:05 Half Marathon at the Carlsbad Half, a victory at the USA 50km Road Running Championships and finished 11th at the 2012 USA Cross Country National Championships.

Tommy Manning, 36, Colorado Springs, CO, is an uphill specialist. Manning made his first U.S. Mountain Running Team in 2010 and had an incredible performance to help the team win their silver medal at the WMRC finishing as the third scoring member.  Manning finished sixth at the 2010 USA Mountain Running Championships, and finished fifth at the 2011 championships to make his second consecutive USMRT. He was also runner-up at the Mount Washington Road Race in 2011, and a member of last year’s NACAC Mountain Running Team. In 2009, Manning won the Route 66 Half-Marathon with a time of 1:09.57 and finished 34th at Boston in 2:26.57.  He is teacher at Fountain Valley High School in Colorado Springs.   

Jared Scott, 28, Grand Canyon, AZ, was a member of the 2011 U.S. Mountain Running Team having finished sixth at the 2011 USA Mountain Running Championships to earn the final spot on the team.  Scott also won the 2011 La Sportiva Mountain Cup trail racing series and took fourth at the USA 10km Trail Championships.  An avid snowshoe racer, Scott finished sixth at the 2012 US Snowshoe Running Championships in Frisco, CO.

Ryan Woods, 32, Boone, NC,  (photo below by Joe Viger) earned a spot on the 2011 U.S. Mountain Running Team by finishing third at the 2011 USA Mountain Running Championships.  Ryan finished 49th at the 2011 World Mountain Running Championships in Tirana, Albania.  Woods won the 2011 Springmaid Splash 10k in Spruce Pine, NC, and was the overall 2010 La Sportiva Mountain Cup trail race series. He runs for La Sportiva as of April 2012.

Richard Bolt, 41, Mountain View, CA will be traveling as team manager. Bolt has been Team Leader for the U.S. Mountain Running Team at the World Mountain Running Championships for ten years including this year’s event to be held in Italy in September.  Prior to his leadership role, Bolt competed as an athlete at the World Mountain Running Championships in 1999 and 2002 and is a member of the Salomon Trail Running Team.  In 2008 Bolt founded the USATF-Oregon Mountain Running Series now in its fourth year and currently lives in Mountain View, CA, with his wife Kelly.


Photos of all the team athletes and staff can be found here:

More information on USA Mountain Running can be found at and on the USATF website at  Look for results and a recap of the NACAC Mountain Championships at the site.