The full version of this news release was originally published on the United States Federation of Sleddog Sports website on November 12, 2015.
Team USA Shines!
Bristol, Quebec Canada – The clouds may have been in abundance, occasionally spilling their wet contents on the IFSS (International Federation of Sled dog Sports) Dryland World Championships in Bristol, Quebec, but the performances turned in by USA competitors were brilliant. Over 200 teams from fifteen countries graced the starting chutes in this remote village in Canada for four days of racing October 29th-November 1st. The finish line resulted in eighteen medals for Team USA, with nine golds, five silvers and four bronze medals. Canada, with twelve medals, came in second in the medal count, and France and Belgium, each with seven medals, followed.
The USA junior contingent fared exceptionally well. Taking the top honor in gold medals were juniors Nova Clifford (Junior 1-dog scooter), Asa Szegvari (Men’s Junior Canicross), Forest Collins (Men’s Junior Bikejor), Tanner Johnson (Junior 4-dog Rig) and Melissa Murphy (Women’s Junior Bikejor). Juniors also scored big in silvers: Forest Collins (Men’s Junior Canicross), Nova Clifford (Women’s Junor Canicross), and Asa Szegvari (Men’s Junior Bikejor). Joel Carey took home a bronze medal in the Men’s Junior Bikejor class. Asa Szegvari and Forest Collins juggled for the top spot in the Junior Men’s Canicross, exchanging ranking after the second heat of the race, but Asa managed to squeak ahead by a total of fifteen seconds overall.
In the adult classes, Peter Franke, a transplant from Germany, garnered two gold medals, both in the Nordic Breed classes (Nordic Breed 4-dog Rig and 2-dog Scooter). Andre Van der Merwe, a recent US immigrant from South Africa, also scored in the Nordic Breed class, taking a bronze medal in the Nordic 4-dog Rig class. Amy Cooper, ever the athlete, took the gold medal in the Women’s Veteran Bikejor for women over 40 years of age. In fact, US women took home all the medals in the Women’s Veteran Bikejor class. Kim Murphy captured the silver medal, and Rebecca Knight the bronze.
The sun was definitely shining in the rig classes. In addition to the Nordic Breed medals mentioned above, perhaps the most contested race was in the 6-dog, where Mike Marsch overcame a first day’s time deficit of a split second to best Canadian competitor Ken Bernard on day two by a total of .659 of a second to win the gold. That was a close and exciting race! Angie Carter grabbed the bronze in the Rig 4-dog, and Chris Carter took the silver medal in the Rig 8-dog class.
Competitors and personnel gathered Saturday evening for a festive Halloween banquet, complete with the clown brigade and lots of good food and drink. Jim Cunningham, the able race marshal, did the emceeing. The highlight of the evening perhaps was Cunningham’s announcement that Canadian Sarah Warford’s dog had been “captured.” A huge round of applause erupted throughout the banquet hall. Sarah had competed in the Women’s Canicross. As she crossed the finish line on Saturday, injured and exhausted, her dog backed out of its harness and took off for parts unknown. It was a stressful time for Sarah, but she was beaming on Sunday morning.
USFSS thanks the Bristol Organizing Committee and IFSS for a superb event. A grand time was had by all; friends renewed their acquaintances, met new friends, learned and had fun. Mike Marsch, the USFSS president, summed it up, “ I am so proud of our athletes. They came to the 2015 Dryland World Championship prepared and ready to compete against the best in the world. This is the first time in USA dryland history we took home the most medals. Bristol gave us a good race, good trail, and enabled us to experience the camaraderie that goes with competition.”
Complete race results are available on the IFSS website, www.sleddogsport.net.
If you desire additional information or would like to interview USFSS President Mike Marsch, please call 715-797-5622.