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Defending UW National Champions Open Nordic Ski Season With Weekend Sweep


January 19, 2011 — Both University of Wyoming Nordic Ski Club teams dominated their respective divisions in the opening meet of the season last weekend at the Happy Jack trails.

The defending men's and women's national champions, with almost entirely new teams this season, swept Saturday's 10km competition and Sunday's classic race. The two days of competition were a United States Ski and Snowboard Association-sanctioned event.

The UW Cowboys edged Western State College by a single point (11-12) for the men's team title in the first meet of the Rocky Mountain Conference schedule. The United States Air Force Academy placed third with 35 points, followed by Colorado School of Mines with 47 and Mesa State College with 53.

Overall scoring is based on the performance of the top three individual finishers for each team.

Michael Fitzgerald of Laramie led the team scoring with a fifth-place finish, followed by teammates Brian Bradley, also of Laramie, and Casper's Patrick Rodgers who took the next two positions.

In the women's competition, the Cowgirls raced to a team-low 13 points, followed by Mesa State with 21 and both Western State and Air Force with 33 points.

Lander's Marie Cartwright had the highest finish for the Cowgirls with a third-place showing, while teammate Sarah Dixson of Steamboat Springs, Colo., was one place back. Casper's Morgan Cropsey rounded out the team scoring in sixth place. However, UW had three other women place among the top 10 finishers. Sarah Johnson, Duluth, Minn., Laramie's Catherine Schmidt and Cara Noseworthy, Medford, N.J., all took the next three positions.

The Cowboys again had a close finish during Sunday's competition. The UW men scored 12 points to again edge Western State by a single point. Air Force took third place with 47 points, followed by Colorado School of Mines and Mesa State with 53 and 55 points, respectively.

UW's points came from the eighth- and ninth-place finishers, Rodgers and Devin Oderwald of Granby, Colo. Willie Via, Fairbanks, Alaska, took 11th. Casper's Nathan Hough and Kai Sharp, Atlantic Mine, Mich., went second and third, respectively, to finish in the top 10, but their points did not count. The pair is being redshirted this season.

The Cowgirls' top three point getters went third through fifth place, led by Cartwright, Cropsey and Johnson. In fact, UW had three other team members place among the top 10 when Dixson, Noseworthy and Schmidt finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

UW's women dominated the overall scoring, getting a team-low 14 points, while Mesa State was a distant second with 24. Air Force tallied 31 points for third place and fourth went to Western State.

The next competition in the Rocky Mountain Conference is Jan. 29-30, at the Mesa State College invitational.

Photo:
University of Wyoming's Morgan Cropsey of Casper, left; and Cara Noseworthy, Medford, N.J., center, both had high finishes for the Cowgirls' Nordic Ski club last weekend. (Photo courtesy/Christi Boggs)

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