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September 12, 2013 — For the second time in two years, the University of Wyoming’s nationally recognized men’s and women’s Nordic ski club teams have been invited to compete in in the World University Games -- this time Dec. 11-21 in Trentino, Italy.
UW is among several U.S. teams invited to compete in the games, known as the Winter Universiade, an international sporting and cultural festival staged every two years in a different city. It is said to be second in importance only to the Winter Olympic Games. More than 50 countries are expected to compete.
Two years ago, UW’s team competed in Erzurum, Turkey, against some world-class athletes who have competed in past Winter Olympics.
The UW Nordic club, composed mostly of Wyoming high school graduates, is a national power in the United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) sanctioned races. The UW women’s team has won five national titles since Nordic skiing returned as a club sport 15 years ago. The men’s team has won four USCSA national championships, including last season.
The Winter Universiade consists of alpine skiing-snowboarding; Nordic skiing composed of jump, cross country and combined; curling; ice hockey; short track speed skating; figure skating; biathlon and one or two optional sports chosen by the host country.
By being the overall top USCSA team -- winning the men’s team title and finishing second in the women’s competition -- UW “earned bragging rights as the top USCSA team overall,” says UW co-head Coach Rachel Watson.
“We were thus invited, for a second time, to represent the United States at the World University Games,” she says. “UW will be represented by a group of incredible student-athletes hailing from throughout the nation, but many are from Wyoming. With an average team GPA (grade point average) of 3.59, the athletes representing the university at this international event are performers both in the classroom and on the ski trails.”
Christi Boggs is the other co-head coach and the assistant coach is Anna Scofield, from Mammoth, Calif.
Members of the UW Cowgirls team expected to compete in Italy are Sierra Jech, Cody; Sarah Johnson, Duluth, Minn.; Shanna McCleary and Bridget Weiner, both from Casper; Catherine Schmidt, Laramie; and Brita Shroeter, Ironwood, Mich.
Competing for the Cowboys will be Kyle Bochanski of Fairfax, Vt.; Nathan Hough, Patrick Rodgers and Taylor Vignaroli, all from Casper; Sindre Solvang, Cheyenne; and William Via, Fairbanks, Alaska.
“Throughout the summer, these athletes worked hard to raise the money needed to fund their trip to Italy. However, the trip will cost $4,000 per athlete,” Watson says. “Many of the athletes have raised some or most of the needed funds, but they are in need of additional support.”