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February 12, 2013 — The University of Wyoming Nordic ski team’s annual Cowboy Chase home meet and fundraiser is this weekend.
The competition is open to the public Saturday, Feb. 16, and Sunday, Feb. 17, at the Happy Jack ski trails east of Laramie.
Saturday’s 5km and 10km freestyle races begin at 10 a.m., and Sunday’s 3km and 10km classic pursuit competition starts at 9:30 a.m. Children’s races are offered both days. Registration is $25 per race or $35 for the weekend. Children’s races cost $5.
Saturday, Feb. 16, the team will host a pasta dinner, art auction and raffle at 6:30 p.m. at Laramie Junior High School. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children.
For more information about the weekend activities, including registration for the races, visit the team’s website at www.uwyo.edu/ski/cowboychase.htm.
Both UW teams swept the top positions in their respective divisions both days at last weekend’s Owl Creek Chase in Aspen, Colo. It marked the first time this season the UW Cowgirls had a full team for a weekend competition.
The UW women won the 5km classic with a team-low nine points followed by Colorado Mesa University (CMU) with 14 points. The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) scored 32.
Cody junior Sierra Jech led the Cowgirls with a second-place finish, just three seconds behind CMU’s Brooke Bosman. Bridget Weiner, a Casper junior, was third in her first qualifier of the season and Sarah Johnson, a junior from Duluth, Minn., followed in fourth. Laramie senior Catherine Schmidt took sixth followed closely by Britta Schroeter, of Ironwood, Mich., in seventh. Binny Loveless, from New York City, N.Y., was the final UW skier in 15th place.
Despite being short-handed with three Cowboys out with the flu, the UW men won the day’s 10km classic race with 12 points. CMU scored 19, Western State College (WSC) had 22 and the USAFA scored 25.
Nathan Hough, a Casper junior, led the Cowboys with a second-place finish behind Chris Lange of WSC. Patrick Rodgers, a Casper junior, was third, only 14 seconds behind Hough, and Casper freshman Taylor Vignaroli took seventh.
The second day of competition, the Owl Creek Chase, is one of Colorado’s premier Nordic events, says UW co-head Coach Christi Boggs.
“It draws elite athletes from around the country. It's a 21km point-to-point skate race over the top of a mountain. It's extremely tough and grueling, and just finishing is a true accomplishment,” Boggs says. “All our athletes who started the race finished it this year -- a great success. Not only that, they skied really well.”
The race begins with a mass start with the women starting as a group only five minutes behind the men.
Rodgers led the UW men with an overall second place, and Hough placed fourth. The Cowboys won the day’s race with 14 points, WSC scored 21 in a tight race, the USAFA had 22, and CMU was just a point back of the Falcons.
The women were led by Jech, who won the collegiate women’s division by nearly five minutes and placed 10th overall in the elite division. Weiner was third in the collegiate category, followed by Johnson in fourth; Schmidt in fifth; Schroeter took eighth; and Loveless 14th.
The Cowgirls scored a team-low eight points, CMU had 14 and the USAFA scored 36.
Some UW graduate students also competed, but they are not eligible for the collegiate nationals at the end of the season.
Evgeniy Panzhinskiy on Saturday competed in two races, placing ninth in the elite field in the sprint and 18th in the elite men’s 10km classic. Tyler Kjorstad was 21st in the elite field in the 10km classic and 24th in a much larger field in the elite Owl Creek Chase field. Grigory Kolesov placed 33rd in the classic and 39th in the Owl Creek Chase. Sonjia Weinstein raced only at the Owl Creek Chase and placed 43rd in the women’s division.