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Defending Champion UW Nordic Ski Teams Prepare for Nationals


March 4, 2011 — It's been a whirlwind season for the University of Wyoming Ski teams, and just like that, the national competition has snuck up on them.

A few weeks ago the UW teams competed at the Winter World University Games in Erzurum, Turkey, leaving the club short-handed for regular conference competition. Despite having half the team in Turkey and missing four competitions this semester, the UW Cowgirls still managed to win the Rocky Mountain Conference trophy. The UW Cowboys were in the same predicament, and finished as league runners-up to Western State College of Gunnison, Colo.

The defending UW national champion teams will be in Sun Valley, Idaho, March 8-12, for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association finals.

"We are going to nationals with few expectations. We have a very young team -- only three upperclassmen and only four who have attended in the past," UW Coach Christi Boggs says. "Despite this, the teams are strong and with great races can fight for the top spots. You never know with new skiers, they may be inspired and some of them are just hitting their form. They'll give it their best and it may or may not be enough, but I know they will ski their hearts out."

Representing the UW men at nationals will be Zach Bochanski, freshman, Fairfax, Vt.; Michael Fitzgerald, senior, Laramie; Nathan Hough and Patrick Rodgers, both freshmen from Casper; Devin Oderwald, junior, Granby, Colo.; and Willie Via, sophomore, Fairbanks, Alaska.

The Cowgirls will be represented by Sarah Dixson, sophomore, Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Elizabeth Eikelberger, freshman, Casper; Sarah Johnson, sophomore, Duluth, Minn.; Cara Noseworthy, sophomore, Medford, N.J; Kara Rechard, junior, Albuquerque, N.M.; and Catherine Schmidt, sophomore, Laramie.

During the regular season, Schmidt was ranked second overall in the conference women's standings, while Bochanski was second in total points in the men's competition and Rodgers tied for third. Coaching with Boggs is Rachel Watson.

The UW Nordic Club, manned by mostly Wyoming high school graduates, has become a national power participating in the 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.

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