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March 6, 2013 — The University of Wyoming Nordic club teams remained in strong contention for national titles today (Wednesday) at the 35th annual United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) championships in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Competing in extremely challenging conditions for the 8.5-kilometer classic race, the Cowboys finished first and the Cowgirls second. The Cowboys now hold a 10-point lead over second-place Clarkson University of New York in the team standings, while the UW women are just five points behind first-place St. Olaf College of Minnesota at the halfway point of the championships.
“It was a true honor to coach these kids today,” UW Coach Christi Boggs says. “In these hard conditions, they just cowboyed up.”
The races took place during heavy, wet snowfall that dramatically reduced visibility and seriously challenged the skiers’ ability to move across the sticky snow, Boggs says. The blizzard conditions were tough for the men and even worse for the women.
For the men, senior Kyle Bochanski of Fairfax, Vt., followed up his national title-winning effort in Tuesday’s 1.5K sprint race with a second-place performance in Wednesday’s longer competition. Junior Patrick Rodgers of Casper was right behind in third; junior Nathan Hough of Casper took fifth; senior Willie Via of Fairbanks, Alaska, was 11th; freshman Taylor Vignaroli of Casper was 17th; and sophomore Sindre Solvang of Cheyenne was 26th.
The top 10 finishers in both the women’s and men’s divisions earn All-America honors.
For the women, junior Bridget Weiner of Casper finished second; freshman Britta Schroeder of Ironwood, Mich., seventh; junior Sierra Jech of Cody, 11th; junior Sarah Johnson of Duluth, Minn., 12th; senior Shanna McCleary of Casper, 17th; and senior Catherine Schmidt of Laramie, 20th.
“We had the worst possible conditions for the women,” Boggs says. “They were just trying to survive.”
The Cowboys, who finished as the national runners-up last year, sit at the top of the team standings with a team-low 17 points, followed by Clarkson with 27. UW won national men’s championships in 2006, 2009 and 2010.
The Cowgirls, who finished third last year, sit in second with 31 points, behind St. Olaf’s 26. UW won national women’s championships in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
The 2013 championships continue through Saturday in Sun Valley. Nordic competitors have Thursday off. A 15-kilometer skate race is Friday, and the competition concludes with a three-by-5K relay on Saturday.
“It’s a real horserace here,” Boggs says.
University of Wyoming senior Kyle Bochanski of Fairfax, Vt., followed up his national title-winning effort with a second-place performance in Wednesday’s 8.5km race in Sun Valley, Idaho. (Photo by Jerry Jech)