New Bend snowshoers fare well at U.S. Nationals

Mendoza third among men; Howe tops the women

Bend man finishes third at the U.S. Snowshoe Nationals

BEND, Ore. - Mario Mendoza of Bend celebrated after competing in his first U.S. Snowshoe Nationals. The Central Oregonian finished third in the men's 10K race Saturday at Virginia Meissner Sno-Park.

"This is my first time doing snowshoeing," Mendoza said. "It was really tough, and really hard."

With Mendoza's third place finish, he now has a spot on the U.S. Team.

"I was really happy -- I was hoping to make the town proud and get a spot on the national team," Mendoza said. "So that was my goal, and it felt good."

Five-time champion Josiah Middaugh, who has won every national he's competed in, won his sixth national title, with a time of 47 minutes and 8 seconds, followed by Eric Hartmark of Duluth, Minn., and Mendoza.

On the women's side, a familiar name in Bend sports -- just like Mendoza, new to snowshoeing -- fared even better, as Stephanie Howe won the senior women's event with a time of 1 hour, 14 seconds, followed by Brandy Erholtz of Evergreen, Colo., and Carolyn Stocker of Westfield, N.Y.

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