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March 9, 2013 — There’s a reason all those 7-mile trail runs in the mountains and 6 a.m. roller skiing treks to the outskirts of Laramie this summer were scheduled for the University of Wyoming men’s Nordic ski club team. Those grueling weekly workouts paid off for a rebuilt Cowboys team.
The UW men captured their first United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) championship since 2010 by dominating the field at Sun Valley, Idaho.
It didn’t matter that the Pokes placed second in the final event -- the three-by-5K relay Saturday morning. A consistent week by UW earned the team its fourth overall championship.
The Cowboys finished with a team-low 47 points, and really put away the field. Clarkson University of Potsdam, N.Y., was the runner-up with a distant 80 points. Perennial national power St. Olaf of Northfield, Minn., placed third with 83 points.
“It’s just incredible that the men’s team was able to take away the men’s overall victory, because this team was truly built from the ground up,” says co-head Coach Rachel Watson. “Our men’s team spent the entire summer working out with us. I truly have no words for how proud I am of this team.”
The Cowboys sewed up the national title the day before with an insurmountable 24-point lead over Clarkson University, and just had to at least finish Saturday’s final three-man relay.
The trio of senior Kyle Bochanski of Fairfax, Vt., Patrick Rodgers, a Casper junior, and Nathan Hough, a Casper junior, placed second overall to put the finishing mark on the national title.
The Cowboys have either won or were the national runners-up seven times in the 14 years since Nordic skiing was brought back as a club sport at UW.
The Cowgirls were skiing for second place in the women’s division, and Saturday’s second place in the closing relay race gave the Cowgirls their fourth national runner-up trophy. The UW women have won the national title a whopping six times, the last coming three years ago.
“The women’s team also was incredible this week having to battle a real ringer on the St. Olaf’s team, who just dominated,” Watson says. “The women were just incredible as well coming home with a second place.”
The Cowgirls finished second in the relay race after taking the early lead. Representing the UW women were Cody junior Sierra Jech, Bridget Weiner, a Casper junior, and Sarah Johnson, a junior from Duluth, Minn.
St. Olaf took the overall women’s USCSA championship with a weeklong team-low of 38 points, while the Cowgirls scored 63.