Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Four National Titles for Whole Athlete p/b DNA as Blunk, Simmons and Richardson Earn Top Honors

The US National Championships have always been a major target for the Whole Athlete Development Team, and 2018 was no exception. Keeping a decade-long streak of National titles alive, Whole Athlete p/b DNA riders earned four victories and six podium finishes over two days of racing on the technical trails of Snowshoe, West Virginia. Savilia Blunk was crowned Women's U23 National Champion, Quinn Simmons did the double, earning both Junior 17/18 XC and STXC titles, while Gabbi Richardson dons the stars and stripes with the Junior Women's 11-16 STXC victory. Ten years and 26 Junior & U23 National Titles...What a ride!

Savilia Blunk
Blunk is the Women's U23 National Champion! (photo: Shane Johnson)

Blunk's U23 victory comes just one year after winning the Junior title, underscoring an impressive first-year U23 season that has seen her on multiple ProXCT podiums. 

Savilia Blunk
Blunk on her way to her biggest win yet. (photo: Ann Beckett)
Kelsey Urban also featured at the front of the race with a solid 4th place ride as she battled for the podium throughout. She followed on Sunday with 9th place in the Elite Women's STXC. Urban and Blunk now head to Vermont for the next stop on the ProXCT series this weekend, then just two weeks later to World Cup #6 in Mont St. Anne, Canada.

Kelsey Urban
Urban followed her 4th place U23 XC finish with a top-10 in the Elite Women's STXC. 
Splitting his time between the road and dirt this season, Quinn Simmons has shown impressive versatility with success in both disciplines and in both Europe and the US. He can now add two Junior 17/18 National MTB titles to his growing palmares. Following the Junior 15/16 XC title won on a similar course at Snowshoe last year, Simmons took the 2018 Junior 17/18 XC race head on, attacking early and building an insurmountable lead. The battle for the podium behind Simmons was a tight one, with teammate Nolan Jenkins holding on for a hard-fought 4th place. 

Quinn Simmons
Simmons attacked early in the XC and never looked back. (photo: Simmons)

Simmons and Jenkins were again very active in the short track the following day, joined by teammate Finn Gullickson, as the three battled a highly competitive Junior 17/18 field. Riding both a strong and effective team race, Simmons capped off an impressive weekend with his second win in two days, while Jenkins landed a 5th place podium finish and Gullickson hung tough for 9th. All three riders head to the Road National Championships this week in Hagerstown, MD, excited for more opportunities to shine.

Quinn Simmons
Simmons and Jenkins set the early pace. (photo: Simmons)
After shifting her focus from cross country running to cross country MTB racing this past Fall, Gabbi Richardson has taken on an ambitious race schedule in 2018. She's successfully balanced NICA high school Varsity racing with a full calendar of national-level XC races, earning multiple victories and podium finishes throughout. Snowshoe marks Richardson's first-ever National Championships participation and she embraced the challenge, landing on the podium in the Junior 15-16 XC in 5th, while taking it a step further winning the Junior 11-16 STXC title the very next day. 
Gabbi Richardson
Richardson is Junior STXC National Champion. (photo: Richardson)

Savilia Blunk
Women's U23 XC podium. (photo: Whole Athlete p/b DNA)

Quinn Simmons
Junior 17/18 Men's XC podium. (photo: Whole Athlete p/b DNA)

Gabbi Richardson
Junior Women's 11-16 STXC podium. (photo: Whole Athlete p/b DNA)

Next up for Whole Athlete p/b DNA:

07/28: Julbo Eastern Grind ProXCT - Catamount, VT

08/12: World Cup #6 - Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, Canada
09/03: World Championships - Lenzerheide, Switzerland 

Stay tuned for more exciting news!