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January 10, 2013 — Despite being short-handed to begin the season, the nationally recognized University of Wyoming Nordic ski club teams won three of four races last weekend to open the new season.
Both teams placed first in the 15km classic race last Saturday and the men’s team won the 5km skate race Sunday at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) Invitational at Snow Mountain Ranch, Colo. The Cowgirls were second on the final day.
The first conference race of the season was used to qualify individuals for the United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) championships March 3-9, in Sun Valley, Idaho.
“Despite having a small team because some of our athletes are doing winter break classes abroad, it was a fantastic weekend,” Coach Christi Boggs says.
On the men's side, Tyler Kjorstad, a doctoral student in economics, dominated both races. However, he is not eligible for college nationals and his points did not count in this competition, Boggs says. As a result, teammate Patrick Rodgers, a junior from Casper, officially won both races in the college division. Catherine Schmidt, a Laramie senior, also won both races in the college division.
In the classic race, the Cowboys’ results were Rodgers, first; Taylor Vignaroli, a Casper sophomore, fifth; Willie Via, a Fairbanks, Alaska, senior, sixth; and Cheyenne sophomore Sindre Solvang placed ninth.
The Pokes took the men’s title with a team-low 10 points, followed by Colorado Mesa University (CMU) with 26; USAFA, 27; and Western State College (WSC), 30.
Schmidt won the women’s individual race and was followed by teammates Sarah Dixson, a Steamboat Springs, Colo., senior, in third place. Casper senior Shanna McCleary finished fourth.
The Cowgirls took the team title with 8 points; CMU scored 15; and USAFA had 24.
The skate race results were almost identical for the two UW teams.
Rodgers was first in the men’s division; Via placed third; Vignaroli was fifth; and Solvang finished 10th.
The Cowboys again were first with 9 points; CMU scored 25; USAFA totaled 27; and WSC had 28.
Schmidt won the women’s race and was followed by teammates Dixson in fifth; McCleary sixth; and Binny Loveless, a New York City, N.Y., senior, placed 10th.
CMU won the day’s race with 9 points. The Cowgirls were three points back while USAFA scored 27.
“Everyone skied extremely well, especially for the first race of the season. We were missing some of our strongest skiers, but the remaining skiers did well,” Boggs says.
The next USCSA qualifier is Jan. 26-27, and will be hosted by CMU at Grand Mesa, Colo. The UW teams will compete in a pair of elite NCAA Division I races the next two weekends in Steamboat Springs and Minturn, Colo.