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UW Nordic Club Skier Wins National Title

March 4, 2009 — Daniel Lewis, a University of Wyoming junior from Jackson, became the UW ski club's first national champion at this week's United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSSA) Nationals at Devil's Thumb Ranch near Frisco, Colo.

Lewis won the sprint race at the USCSSA Nationals, which runs through March 7. His victory put the UW men's team into first place with a team low seven points. Other team standings were unavailable.

Lewis was among eight athletes to advance to the finals after the preliminary round, with the top four individuals competing in the A finals and the other four participating in the B race.

The UW men moved three individuals into the A race finals, with the other representing Whitman College of Walla Walla, Wash. Lewis was first, followed by Evgeniy Panzhinskiy, senior from Russia. Teammate Eliah Pedersen, Lander freshman, was edged out for third place even though he lunged at the finish line.

"The men's final was the show of the night, with three of our men in that race," says Coach Christi Boggs, a UW Outreach Credit Programs assistant lecturer. "Dan became UW's first national champion for the week and we hope not the last. It was an amazing finish for UW."

The Cowgirls' team also is competing for a national championship. Boggs says since the program was revived 10 years ago, UW has never swept the men's and women's competition.

After the first day of racing, the UW women were just three points behind current leader Whitman College.

Four of the top 10 women who qualified from the preliminary round to ski in the finals race were from UW -- Kari Boroff, senior, Daniel; Gwynn Barrows, junior, Laramie; Gracey Lewis, freshman, Jackson; and Marie Cartwright, sophomore, Lander.

The women were divided into two separate heats with Boroff coming out in a qualifying time that put her in the A division's final race, while Lewis moved into the B race championship race. The top qualifiers from the semifinals are grouped in the upper division.

In the B race, Lewis and her opponents competed for fifth through eighth place.

"Gracey skied smart and tough and pulled herself into sixth place with some great tactics on the backstretch," Boggs says.

In the women's sprint finals, Boroff fought her way from back of the pack to finish third overall, missing second place by just one second.

"This was her best finish in a sprint at nationals in her four years of college," Boggs says. "I can't believe the amazing support showed by the entire team, those who raced, those who didn't and those who raced and immediately asked what they could do to help the rest of the team do well. This team wins because of every person and they are all part of the magic."

The second day of competition will feature an 8.5km classic race.

Posted on Wednesday, March 04, 2009

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