UW Cowgirls Scramble at Winter World University Games With Best Showing
Even though the University of Wyoming Nordic ski team members won't medal at the Winter World University Games this week in Erzurum, Turkey, they will come away knowing that they held their own against the world's top cross country skiers.
Wednesday, the UW Cowgirls competed in the 3x5km relay, while a Cowboys' foursome entered in the men's 4x10km relay on the second-to-last day of Nordic skiing competition.
Laramie's Gwynn Barrows led off for the Cowgirls, keeping UW within sight, just trailing the Belarus and Canadian women. Morgan Cropsey of Casper had a good second leg and Lander's Marie Cartwright also turned in a strong finish with her anchor run, but could not quite catch the leaders, UW Coach Christi Boggs says.
The UW women placed ninth among the 11 teams that made the cutoff time. Russia won the event, followed by the Ukraine and France.
"It would be a miracle if our women placed in this field. The top 15-20 athletes are active World Cup skiers who signed up for one class this semester so they could race here at the World University Games," Boggs wrote in an e-mail. "Despite this, our women have been competing and making people work to beat them. Our women just killed it today. It truly was inspiring to see our UW women out there."
The UW men had their toughest outing of the week, with two team members pulling up ill. One Cowboy was replaced in the lineup, while the others had to ski.
The only healthy team member, Dan Lewis of Jackson, finished the anchor leg, just coming in at the cutoff time to help the Cowboys finish the race. Several teams did not finish, missing the cutoff time. Other UW team members were Devin Oderwald of Granby, Colo.; Nathan Hough, Casper; and Eliah Pederson from Lander.
The UW men ended up at the end of the pack, finishing 12th among the dozen teams that did complete the cutoff time. France won the gold medal, followed by Russia. No official times for both the UW men and women were available.
"We define success as giving your all, even if there's not that much to give on any given day," Boggs wrote. "So, to us, the men were successful. They certainly did well against tough odds."
The final day of competition(Thursday) for the UW teams is the mixed sprint relay, featuring one man and woman alternating around a 1.5km loop for a total of three loops around the course. UW will have two teams entered - Barrows/Lewis and Cartwright/Hough.
"Our UW men and women truly are skiing their hearts out and are being amazing ambassadors off the course," Boggs wrote. "We've even had Marie and Gwynn on Turkish television because they have learned so much Turkish. All the volunteers here love our team and the stuff they are learning and doing is truly amazing."