Cambria McDermott recently traveled to Almaty, Kazakhstan after qualifying for the U23 World Championships. McDermott, a senior studying exercise science while a junior in NCAA nordic skiing eligibility, was one of six U.S. women who qualified for the FIS Nordic Junior and U23 World Ski Championships. The races got underway Feb. 1 with qualifications based on four previous races, most notably U.S. Nationals taking place in January. It terms of the competitions in Almaty, McDermott said, “It was a goal, but it wasn’t for sure. I did not expect [to make Worlds].”
Originally from Putney, Vermont, McDermott has been skiing ever since she was very young. “I started when I was two, and then starting racing when I was in second grade. I hated it when I was little, but then I started to like it, and it’s become my favorite thing to do ever since,” she said.
MSU became a favorable option for school when McDermott joined her sister on a college search at age 15. She recalls “falling in love with Bozeman” and now finds herself training and competing among a hard working and supportive team.
“That is a main reason why I ski. We have so many athletes with so much potential, and we all push each other every day. Our coaches are also really supportive,” she said.
“Nordic skiing is funny because there are so many types of races. We race from 1.5 kilometers to a 50k, in skate or classic,” she added. Because of these varying speeds and styles within the sport, she said each of her teammates hold strengths within different areas.
When it comes to race time, the skier said that she tries to get excited rather than letting the nerves build up. She met many new racers from all over the U.S. and the world on her trip to Almaty. Racing based on her strengths, she did a skate 10k and one 15k pursuit, along with a 7.5k classic in which she switched her skis mid race to finish out a 7.5k skate. She placed in the top 30 in the 15k pursuit.
Although this experience was amazing in terms of racing among the world’s best, McDermott is now focused on making it to the NCAA Championships. The Bobcats will first head to Alaska for two weeks to compete at the University of Alaska Anchorage Invitational on Feb. 23.