GNA Alumnus John Henry Paluszek Wins 2020 USCSA National Title and Defends Sprint Title
March 25, 2020
Lake Placid, NY – March 14, 2020 – Gunstock Nordic Association – GNA alumnus John Henry Paluszek now a junior skiing for Castleton University located in Castleton, Vermont, just won the 2020 USCSA National Nordic Ski Championships. This year the championships were held at the Olympic Nordic Center in Lake Placid, New York from March 10–14, 2020.
The first race of the championships was the 7.5km Freestyle Interval Start race. Due to some early spring weather, racers had to contend with soft tracks and slow snow which favored strong skiers with refined techniques. In addition to his incredible dedication and work ethic, Paluszek was able to capitalize on his years of technique work under the master coaching of Nina Gavrylyuk, and he finished second to North Conway standout and fellow Castleton teammate, Andrew Doherty.
John Henry Paluszek during the 7.5km Freestyle Interval Start race where he placed second.
Day two featured Paluszek’s strongest discipline, the Classic Technique Sprint where he is the defending USCSA champion. After logging the fastest qualifying time, Paluszek cruised through both the quarterfinals and the semifinals making him the man to beat in the finals. In the finals, Paluszek quickly double polled to the front and created a gap on the first climb of the course. After the first climb, Paluszek capitalized on his lead and pushed hard right into the finishing straight to take his second national title in the sprint!
John Henry Paluszek celebrating his second consecutive USCSA national sprint title.
In the video below you can watch Paluszek’s quarterfinals (the first race at 06:00), the semifinals (at 1:09), and the A Finals (at 1:50). At the close of the video (at 1:57) Paluszek is interviewed by the race announcer and discusses the challenging conditions and his tactics for the race.
The third race, the 15km Classic Mass Start was held under a warm spring rain, which made both skiing and ski preparation particularly challenging. Like the freestyle race, skiers with refined techniques had the edge. For ski selection teams tested both zeros and a skis layered with combinations of warm klisters. Paluszek chose zeros and paced himself conservatively among the lead group of skiers. In these conditions unnecessary pace setting can burn a few too many matches—Paluszek utilized a steady pacing strategy and skied to solid third place podium finish.
Paluszek’s consistent racing—placing second, first, and third—netted him the overall USCSA 2020 National Title! Results are posted below:
- Tuesday, 3/10/20 7.5km Individual Freestyle »
- Wednesday, 3/11/20 Classic Sprint »
- Friday, 3/13/20 15km Mass Start Classic »
- Individual Combined Results »
The United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association is the sports federation for collegiate team ski racing and snowboarding in America. Through the USCSA, students can be part of a team at any college in the United States. The USCSA provides alpine, nordic, snowboard, freeski or ski jumping collegiate competitions for the student athletes of its member institutions. If your college does not have a team, the USCSA can assist in getting a team started. Currently the USCA supports 170+ member institutions, 5000+ student athletes, 250+ alpine racing teams, 100+ snowboard and freeski teams, and 40+ nordic teams over 11 conferences and 6 regions.