It really is a tough call…double-j or Mountain Goat? I bet that if they raced head to head every weekend it would come down to who was “on” that day. Kevin Tilton is stronger in sloppy footing and grueling climbs, Jim Johnson has pure speed and can descend like no ones business. The course last week at Great Glen was the perfect mix of conditions that ended in the closest finish of the year (a dead-heat). I would love to have a couple of guys like Kevin and Jim on my team…oh yeah, I do!
Having said that:
1. Kevin Tilton (CMS) – He only raced five times but one of those was a seventh place finish at the snowshoe nationals. I’ve got to give extra-credit for performing at (arguably) the biggest race of the season. He also won at the Sidehiller qualifier which was the best field in WMAC or Granite State series this year. Kevin finished second in the GS series.
2. Jim Johnson (CMS) – His biggest disappointment of the year was finishing 14th at Nationals. That says a lot, 14th is pretty damn good and he beat a lot of good people that day. In twelve races he managed to finish first an amazing 10 times. No one has done that in the history of snowshoe racing in New England. Jim started the season beating Tim Van Orden by a step and closed it in a virtual tie with Kevin Tilton, in-between he was a dominant force. Jim won the WMAC series and the GS series.
Kevin and Jim kicking for the line at the NH championships - Photo by Scott Mason
3. Geoff Cunningham (Acidotic) – Finished off the year with a third at the NH championships. He had an excellent 17th place finish at Nationals. He ran five races, and all but the Nationals, were top three performances.
4. Ben Nephew (CMS) – Too bad the SS nationals were on the same day as the 50 km road championships (and the snowshoe marathon in VT). Ben is one of the best trail Ultra runners in the country and certainly no slouch when it comes to roads either. He ran five snowshoe races this season and improved throughout the season. If WMAC or GS has a race longer than 10Km, Ben will be among the favorites.
5 Tim Van Orden (CMS) – Tim ran twelve snowshoe races this year and except for Nationals he finished in the top four in all of them, including three victories. Tim dominated the master’s field throughout the year and amassed 1,183.56 points in the WMAC series. No one scored more points than Tim. He finished second overall and top master in the WMAC series with 596.78 out of a possible 600 points.