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UW Nordic Ski Teams Attempting to Get Into Top Three

March 10, 2011

After two days of competition in the United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) championships in Sun Valley, Idaho, the University of Wyoming Nordic ski teams know this: It will be a long shot to defend their titles.

Earlier this week the teams competed in the 1.5km sprint race and the 7.5km classic competition. With a day off Thursday, both the Cowboys and Cowgirls are in the top five and are trying to work their way into the top three by the end of the week's competition.

St. Olaf (Northfield, Minn.) leads the women's overall team standings with a team-low 23 points, followed by Clarkson University (Potsdam, N.Y.) with 34, Whitman College (Walla Walla, Wash.) has 65, the UW women are fourth with 72 and Mesa State College (Grand Junction, Colo.) rounds out the top five with 84.

In the men's competition after two events, St. Olaf and Whitman College are tied for the lead with 29 points, Army (West Point, United States Military Academy) is third with 64, Clarkson University has 71 and the UW Cowboys are fifth at 92.

"Our kids really are skiing great for being so young and inexperienced. The field this year is stronger than I have ever seen, but we are hanging tough," UW Coach Christi Boggs says. "Our teams are extremely young and we only have a couple of athletes who have been here (nationals) before."

On the opening day of competition Tuesday, Sarah Dixson, freshman, Steamboat Springs, Colo., placed eighth overall for the UW women in the 1.5km sprint. Sarah Johnson, sophomore, Duluth, Minn., placed 11th; Cara Noseworthy, sophomore, Medford, N.J., took 19th; Catherine Schmidt, sophomore, Laramie, was 21st; Elizabeth Eikelberger, freshman, Casper, 23rd; and Kara Rechard, junior, Albuquerque, N.M., placed 25th.

St. Olaf won the event with a team-low 11 points, Clarkson University was the runner-up with 15 and the UW women third with 32 points.

The UW men were led by Casper freshman Nathan Hough, who finished in the top 10. He was followed by Devin Oderwald, junior, Granby, Colo., in 20th; Michael Fitzgerald, senior, Laramie, 22nd; Willie Via, sophomore, Fairbanks, Alaska, 23rd; and Zach Bochanski, freshman, Fairfax, Vt., 28th.

St. Olaf also won the men's competition with 16 points, followed by Western State College with 18, Army scored 29, Clarkson University had 39 and UW 45.

Wednesday's 7.5 classic race saw the UW women place fifth overall with 40 team points. St. Olaf won again with 12 points, followed by Clarkson with 19, Whitman with 30 and Mesa State with 38.

Noseworthy and Johnson led the Cowgirls, placing 14th and 15th, respectively. Dixson finished 17th, Schmidt 19th, Eikelberger 23rd and Rechard 28th.

Hough missed the top 10 by six seconds, placing 13th in the men's competition. He was followed by Via in 21st, Oderwald was 23rd, Bochanski 31st and Patrick Rodgers, Casper freshman in 33rd.

Western State won the event with 11 points, followed by St. Olaf with 13, Clarkson had 32 and the Cowboys scored 47 points.

The UW men and women will compete Friday in the 15km classic race. The national competition winds up Saturday with the final event, the 3x5km relay race.

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