When Colorado Bulldog Senior Joanne Reid won the women’s 15-kilometer freestyle mass start at the 2013 NCAA Skiing Championships yesterday, it was even more momentous than handily claiming a national title.
Joanne Reid (photo courtesy: Colorado Buffaloes – cubuffs.com)
Almost exactly 30 years earlier, Reid’s mother, Beth Heiden Reid, earned the first-ever NCAA nordic skiing championship crown for women (individual 7.5K freestyle cross country.) Joanne’s victory yesterday was at Rikert Nordic Center (the home course for Middlebury College in Vermont.)
As I was growing up in the Milwaukee area in the 1970s to mid 1980s, I couldn’t help but follow speedskating. According to the Pettit National Ice Center website: “Starting in 1967 with the outdoor Olympic Ice Rink at Wisconsin State Fair Park, Milwaukee has served as the center of U.S. speedskating. The old outdoor Oval not only gave birth to U.S. Speedskating, but also paved the way for the state of the art Pettit National Ice Center which opened in 1992.”
Eric Heiden was a big star of the sport at that time. But his sister Beth was an amazing athlete in her own right. An Olympian (speedskating), World Champion (road bicycling) and NCAA Champion (nordic skiing) she excelled at every sport in which she competed. Cross Country Skiing became an NCAA “co-ed” sport in 1983 – and the always-competitive Beth Heiden promptly took home the first title.
Beth Heiden (photo courtesy: WisconsinHistory.org)
Yesterday, the Colorado Bulldogs also took home the National Team Title. In a somewhat ironic twist, the third place team, Vermont, had led after the first three days of competition but fell to the number three position by the end of the final day.Vermont is Beth Heiden Reid’s alma mater.
For more on Beth Heiden Reid:
Beth Heiden’s procyclingwomen.com profile
Beth Heiden’s wisconsinhistory.org profile
Beth Heiden’s University of Vermont Athletics Hall of Fame induction