UW Nordic Skiers Dominate Weekend Competition
The University of Wyoming Nordic ski teams competed in four races last weekend.
They won all of them.
Led by Jacob Peterson, a sophomore from Lander, the Cowboys conquered the United States Air Force Academy and Colorado Mountain College (CMC) in a 15km freestyle race at Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge, Colo., and a 1.9km classic sprint at Tennessee Pass Nordic Center near Leadville, Colo.
The Cowgirls, fronted by Gwynn Barrows, a sophomore from Laramie, defeated Air Force in the freestyle competition and topped CMC in the sprint.
"It was a good weekend and great fun for our athletes to get a short break from NCAA Division I competition," says UW Coach Christi Boggs, a UW Outreach Credit Programs assistant lecturer. "It's a wonderful and unique opportunity for our athletes to race against the best skiers in the world and then get to step back and compete extremely well against Division II competition (such as Air Force and CMC). It's the best of all possible worlds!"
The Cowboys, who lead the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) rankings, finished 1-2-3 in the 15km freestyle. Peterson placed first, followed by a pair of Casper sophomores, Justin Kinner and John Kirlin.
Michael Fitzgerald, a freshman from Laramie, placed fifth for UW. Nicholai Smith, a junior from Chugiak, Alaska, was sixth.
The Cowboys claimed five of the top six spots in the classic, with Lander's Joe Howdyshell beating Peterson by 17 seconds for first place. Howdyshell is a UW graduate student who has used his college eligibility but continues to train and race with the Cowboys.
Smith finished in fourth place, followed by Kinner in fifth and Fitzgerald in sixth.
Barrows won both races for the defending national champion Cowgirls, who are No. 2 behind the University of Maine at Presque Isle in the USCSA rankings. She easily topped the freestyle field, winning by more than a minute, and then held off teammates Katie and Liz Turner to claim victory in the sprint.
UW took the top six spots in the freestyle, with Lander freshman Marie Cartwright placing second and Liz Turner finishing third. Karen Liebsch, a freshman from Maple Grove, Minn., was fourth, followed by Lander senior Erin Hammer and Katie Turner.
In the classic, Barrows finished two seconds ahead of Katie Turner, who beat her twin sister, Liz, in a photo finish for second place. The Turner sisters are from Chugiak, Alaska.
Cartwright finished fourth in the sprint.
UW returns to Division I competition this weekend at the Western State College Invitational at Crested Butte, Colo.
John Kirlin, a sophomore from Casper, competes for the University of Wyoming men's Nordic ski team last weekend in a 15km freestyle race at Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge, Colo. (Christi Boggs Photo)