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February 18, 2014 — No matter the venue, the University of Wyoming Nordic ski teams manage to treat each one like a home course.
And the Cowboys and Cowgirls skied on the home Happy Jack ski trails to again sweep the latest conference competition last weekend. Both teams took top honors in Saturday’s Cowboy Chase Skate and Sunday’s Cowboy Chase Classic race.
Nathan Hough of Casper won Saturday’s skate, followed by teammates Kyle Bochanski of Fairfax, Vt., and Patrick Rodgers of Casper to give the Pokes a perfect team-low six points. The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) placed second for the first time this season, finishing behind the Pokes with 27 points. Western State College University (WSCU) came in third with 41 points, and 10 points back was Colorado Mesa University (CMU).
Placing behind the Cowgirls’ six team points were CMU with 23 points; the USAFA had 41; Colorado State University scored 42; and WSCU 59. Elise Sulser of Casper led a 1-2-3 finish for the UW women, followed by teammates Sierra Jech of Cody and Bridget Weiner of Casper.
Bochanski won Sunday’s Classic, followed by Rodgers, while Hough came in fourth. As a team, the Cowboys had seven points on the day, followed again by the USAFA with 30; WSCU scored 50; and CMU had 53.
On the women’s side, the Cowgirls were perfect for the second straight day with six points; CMU scored 20; the USAFA had 34; and WSCU placed fourth with 48. Sulser placed first again, followed in order by Jech and Weiner.
UW Nordic skiers dominated the overall points race among all conference members this season.
“For the overall, it takes the points from every single race throughout the season,” UW co-head Coach Christi Boggs says. “You can’t miss even one race and hope to win this award. It’s the true iron man award.”
Three UW men held the top three positions in the overall points race: Bochanski, Hough and Rodgers. On the women’s side, Weiner led the way, and teammate Sulser placed third behind CMU’s Mira Hopkins.
“This was a wonderful way to end the regular season,” Boggs adds.
The team will now prepare for the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association national championships March 11-15 at Lake Placid, N.Y., home of the 1980 Winter Games. While at nationals, UW team members will compete on the Olympic trails and awards will be presented at Olympic Plaza.
Representing the Cowgirls will be Sulser, Jech, Weiner, Britta Schroeter of Ironwood, Mich.; and Yara Thomas of Jackson. The men’s team will be Bochanski, Rodgers, Hough, Kyle Carpenter from Anchorage, Alaska; Wil Chapple of Littleton, Colo.; Andrew Hill and Taylor Vignaroli, both of Casper; Ben Noren of Ironwood, Mich.; Sindre Solvang, from Cheyenne; and Sam Wiswell of Jackson.
The home race and dinner raised funds to send the team to the national meet.
“We’d like to thank everyone who came out for the race and to the dinner,” Boggs says. “The community support is truly overwhelming and very important for helping these young student-athletes reach their potential.”
University of Wyoming Nordic ski team member Kyle Bochanski of Fairfax, Vt., pictured in an earlier race, was the top scorer in the conference this season. (Christi Boggs Photo)