Truckee’s Matt Gelso third in NCAA Championship freestyle race
March 15, 2010
University of Colorado senior Matt Gelso of Truckee finished third in the NCAA Championship freestyle race on Saturday, two days after winning the national title in the Classic discipline.
Gelso earned first-team All-America honors for his effort, duplicating his feat in Thursday’s Classic.
and#8220;It feels great,and#8221; Gelso said of ending his college career winning five of his last six races. and#8220;I won five in a row, I won a national championship and a third place, so I’m about as happy as I could be. I would obviously have liked to have won it, but third place, last race, I had fun. I struggled, but I still hung in there.and#8221;
Gelso was bidding to set an all-time consecutive wins record by a University of Colorado male, but instead will share the honor of five straight with Ove Erik Tronvoll, who accomplished the feat the first five meets of the 1999 season. He did move into a fourth-place tie for the most podium finishes (top three) in school history with 22.
Gelso didn’t miss out on the win by much, as he was part of the lead pack that sprinted to an exciting finish. When the snow had settled, Vermont’s Franz Bernstein (49:19.7) edged New Mexico’s Martin Kaas (49:20.9) and Gelso (49:23.5) for the title.
and#8220;Right out of the start, I felt pretty tired,and#8221; Gelso said. and#8220;In the warm-up, I felt pretty tired, but that’s happened before and I’ve had some great races. On the first lap, I could feel my muscles were tired, my body was tired. I knew I was struggling a little bit, so I tactically just thought I would lead as much as I could and then see what happened.
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and#8220;I would’ve liked to have avoided a sprint at the end, because the guy who won (Bernstein), he’s used to sprint, he’s from the East, he trains at low elevation, he’s got the speed, so I especially didn’t want to sprint with him,and#8221; Gelso continued. and#8220;But I struggled, I didn’t feel very good, I was happy the race broke apart at the end, and I was able to climb my way onto the podium so I’m happy about that.
Said Bruce Cranmer, Gelso’s head coach: and#8220;Matt said he struggled. He knew he was having a tough day from the get-go. He said and#8216;I need to lead, because I know if somebody goes for it I won’t be able to hang with them.’ He tried to be smart. He skied a smart race for not feeling 100 percent. That was great to see. A first and third for him here, that’s a pretty good end to a four-year career.and#8221;
Gelso’s national title and third place come after being named the Buffaloes’ co-male athlete of the week. It was the second time Gelso had earned the award this season and the sixth time in his collegiate career.