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January 29, 2014 — Both University of Wyoming Nordic ski teams dominated last week’s Colorado Mesa University (CMU) invitational last week in a preview of what could be another national title run for both clubs.
The Cowboys swept the top five positions on their way to a team-low six points in the 1.2-kilometer classic sprint last Saturday. The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) was the runner-up with 28 points, followed by CMU with 45 and Western State Colorado University (WSCU) with 48.
Each team’s skiers competed in a preliminary round against the clock. The top finishers were put into a heat in head-to-head competition, with the first two in each heat making it into the finals of the 1.2km classic race.
Season points leader Kyle Bochanski of Fairfield, Vt., led the first five Cowboys in the finals. He was followed by Nathan Hough, Taylor Vignaroli and Andrew Hill, all of Casper, and Ben Noren of Ironwood, Mich.
The Cowgirls were just as successful, placing four team members in the top five. Cody’s Sierra Jech won the 1.2km race, while teammate Elise Sulser of Casper was second. Britta Schroeter of Ironwood, Mich., placed fourth, and one place back was Lindsey Hall of Casper.
The UW women recorded a competition-low six points, CMU scored 23, WSCU had 29, and the USAFA 36.
In Sunday’s 10km skate mass start, the UW men swept the top three positions -- Hough, Patrick Rodgers of Casper and Borchanski. Vignaroli rounded out the Cowboys’ scoring, placing fifth.
UW again scored six points to win the team title, while both WSCU and the USAFA tied for runner-up honors with 29 points each. CMU scored 44.
The Cowgirls took the top four positions to again win the competition with six points. Sulser led the way, followed by teammates Jech, Hall and Casper’s Bridget Weiner.
WSCU placed second to the UW women with 24 team points, CMU scored 27, and the USAFA had 39.
Both the UW men and women are the overall team leaders in their respective conference divisions.
This weekend, both Cowboys and Cowgirls teams ski in the WSCU invitational in Crested Butte, Colo., competing in a 21km skate race Saturday and a relay the following day.
UW’s elite team also will race Friday at the NCAA Division I University of Colorado invitational in Steamboat Springs, Colo. The competition will be a 10km classic race for men and a 5km classic for women.
The first two races of the season for the UW teams were during the winter break at the USAFA invitational the weekend of Jan. 4-5.
“We only had a skeleton crew, but they did extremely well, with the men taking the team title and the women second,” UW co-head Coach Christi Boggs says.
Bochanski won one race and placed second in the other. Weiner won both races to lead the Cowgirls.
The season’s second race was against Division I opponents at the Montana State University Invitational in Bozeman, Mont., Jan. 11-12.
“We had a lot of illness for this race, but those who raced killed it with their best-ever finishes,” Boggs says. “The highlight was when Sulser placed 14th in the race, a UW Nordic club record.”
“On the whole, it was an extremely successful race, considering that our athletes were beating athletes from other teams who are on full scholarship,” Boggs adds.