FORT DRUM, N.Y. - The United States Snowshoe Association has announced that four 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldiers have qualified to compete in the 2010 PowerSox United States National Snowshoe Championships to be conducted March 5-7 at Highland Forest Park in Fabius.

Miguel Contreras, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, and Scott Sperling, Thomas Scott and Robert Olsen, all of Intelligence and Sustainment Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 10th Mountain Division (LI), competed Feb. 13 at the Camp Saratoga Snowshoe Race conducted in Wilton.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Roy Rocco, our battalion command sergeant major, forwarded an e-mail around the battalion asking if anyone wanted to participate in the snowshoe race on Feb. 13," Sperling said. "Both Scott and Olsen, like me, love to do crazy things and participate in extreme challenges, so we signed up. We met Contreras because he also signed up."

The four Soldiers consider themselves a team, even though when the race starts they compete against each other, Sperling said. They train together and encourage each other to get better. Olsen, with limited training time, placed 14th overall at the race.

Olsen said he decided to take part in the race because he thought it would be a unique opportunity and something he could only do in the North Country.

"We only had a week and a half to train for the first race," Olsen said. "Over 150 people participated and all four of us placed. My goal for the championship is to place higher and have a stronger showing.

"During one of our morning formations, 1st Sgt. (Joshua) Nieratko told us how proud he was of the three of us in the company and let us know the whole company was behind us. I've seen everyone is very supportive and encouraging us; it has helped to build our unit morale."

According to the USSSA web site, the Soldiers are scheduled to compete at 11:30 a.m. March 6 for those who want to attend and cheer them on.

The USSSA's Board of Regional Athletic Delegates is presently considering including a new division in the 2011 National Championships that will allow members of all branches of the armed forces to participate and vie for medals, according to a USSSA press release.

The board also is considering the formation of an additional division that will allow members of the armed forces wounded in the line of duty and dealing with all forms of challenges an opportunity to participate in the National Snowshoe Championships in 2011 in a "Wounded Warrior" category.

For more information about the United States Snowshoe Association and the PowerSox U.S. National Snowshoe Championships Program, visit or contact the USSSA sports director at or (518) 420-6961.

(Mark Elmore, sports director for the USSSA, contributed to the article.)