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UW Nordic Ski Club Prepares for Season Opener, Trip to Turkey

January 11, 2011
Man skiing
Dan Lewis of Jackson is among the UW Nordic Ski team members selected to participate in the World University Games later this month in Turkey. (UW Photo by Christi Boggs)

January will be a busy month for the University of Wyoming's defending national champion men's and women's Nordic ski teams.

UW hosts its only competition of the season this weekend. The Cowboys and Cowgirls will depart Jan. 25 to compete at the World University Games in Turkey.

The UW Nordic Club, manned by mostly Wyoming high school graduates, has become a national power participating in the United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) sanctioned races. The last seven years in USCSA competition, the UW women have captured six national championships in 2003, 2004 and from the years 2007 through 2010, while finishing as national runner-up in 2005 and 2006. The UW men have been national champions the past two years and won a third title in 2006. They were the national runner-up team in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Not only is this weekend's 11th Annual Cowboy Chase a national-qualifying race, but it also is a major fundraising event for the club to support its trip to Turkey and compete this skiing season, says UW Coach Christi Boggs.

The home meet is a USCSA qualifying race. Teams competing against UW will be Colorado School of Mines, Mesa State College, United State Air Force Academy and Western State College. Members of the public may also compete in a separate division this weekend.

The Cowboy Chase Nordic Pursuit Race begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, with a 10km/5km freestyle race at the Tie Siding parking lot. A children's race follows. The following day is the 10km/3km classic pursuit competition at 9:30 a.m. followed by a children's race. Both competitions are open to the public.

Race day registration is $20 per race or $30 for the weekend. Children's entry fees are $5 per race. Registration is from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Saturday and from 8-9 a.m. Sunday.

The team hosts a benefit pasta dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, in the Laramie High School cafeteria. Cost is $10 for the dinner. An art auction also is planned and music will be provided by former UW Nordic ski team member John Kirlin of Casper and the High Plains Drifters.

 For more information about this week's competition and dinner, visit the team's website at

"We also have an online portion of the art auction where some of the items will be auctioned although they'll all be available to see at the dinner," Boggs says. "People don't have to be present to participate. The dinner and auction help the team and we have some really great art work that's been donated."

To view available items, visit the website

The UW Nordic Ski team will compete at the Winter World University Games Jan. 26-Feb. 6, in Erzurum, Turkey. UW is among several U.S. teams invited to compete in the games, known as the Winter Universiade, an international sporting and cultural festival staged every two years in a different city. It is said to be second in importance only to the Winter Olympic Games.

The club is raising funds for the trip and still is about $20,000 short of its $65,000 goal. UW's Trademark Licensing, UW Foundation Board and UW Club Sports each have donated $10,000 and the team has raised an additional $10,000 through fundraising events and donors.

Competing at the World University Games, UW team members will participate in five races -- 1.5km freestyle sprint, 10/15km classic, 10/15km double-pursuit, relay and sprint relay.

Representing UW will be men's team members Michael Fitzgerald, Laramie; Nathan Hough, Casper; Dan Lewis, Jackson; Devin Oderwald, Granby, Colo.; Eliah Pederson, Lander; Kai Sharp, Atlantic Mine, Mich.; and Willie Via, Fairbanks, Alaska.

On the UW women's team are Gwynn Barrows, Laramie; Marie Cartwright, Lander; Morgan Cropsey and Shanna McCleary, both of Casper; Sarah, Dixson, Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Sarah Johnson, Duluth, Minn.; and Cara Noseworthy, Medford, N.J.

Boggs and Rachel Watson will coach the team and will be assisted by Ashley Driscoll, chemical engineering doctoral candidate. Laramie High School Nordic team coach Becca Watson and Nordic Ski Club president Adam Karges, Grand Rapids, Minn., are among the support staff.

For more information about the UW Ski team, fundraising efforts or this weekend's competition, contact Boggs at Boggs at (307) 766-4238 or e-mail


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