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UW Nordic Ski Team Takes Opener, Invited to World University Games

January 8, 2015

Winning never gets old for the nationally recognized University of Wyoming women’s and men’s Nordic ski teams.

Both UW clubs swept the opening United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) qualifying event last week, taking both divisions at the Colorado Mesa University (CMU)-sponsored conference competition near Grand Junction.

The early competition was a good tuneup for the Cowboys and Cowgirls who will send a 13-member team, along with four coaches, to the World University Games beginning Jan. 20 in Strbske Pleso, Slovakia. This is the third time UW’s men’s and women’s Nordic ski club teams have been invited to compete in the World University Games. The previous two competitions were held in Trentino, Italy, and Erzurum, Turkey.

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.

UW’s teams will compete against some world-class athletes who have competed in past Winter Olympics.

The UW Nordic ski club, composed mostly of Wyoming high school graduates, is a national power in the USCSA-sanctioned races. The UW women’s team has won six national titles since Nordic skiing returned as a club sport more than 15 years ago. The men’s team has won four USCSA national championships.

The UW women are the defending USCSA national champions, and the Cowboys are national runners-up.

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.

Making the trip to Slovakia are UW team members postgraduate students Nathan Hough and Patrick Rodgers, and juniors Elise Sulser and Taylor Vignaroli, all from Casper; Catherine Schmidt, a postgraduate student from Laramie; and Britta Schroeter, a junior from Ironwood, Mich.

Also making the trip will be senior Kyle Bochanski, Fairfax, Vt.; Cody senior Sierra Jech; Sindre Solvang, a Cheyenne junior; sophomores Yara Thomas and Sam Wiswell, both from Jackson; and Will Timmons, an Anchorage, Alaska, freshman.

Christi Boggs and Rachel Watson are the team’s co-head coaches, and will be assisted by past team members Willie Via of Fairbanks, Alaska, and Anna Scofield of Mammoth, Calif.

People wishing to donate to the team’s trip to the World University Games can contact either Boggs at (307) 766-4238 or email; or Watson at (307) 314-9636 or email

At last week’s opening races in Grand Junction, the Cowgirls, who swept each competition a year ago, picked up where they left off, winning with a team-low 12 points. CMU placed second with 45 points; Western State Colorado University (WSCU) had 58; and the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) scored 78.

The UW men scored a team-low 13 points to win their division, followed by the host CMU team with 44 points; USAFA had 59 points; and WSCU scored 88.

The UW Cowgirls were impressive, sweeping both events last weekend. Sulser, Thomas and Jech were the top three skiers in the sprint event. And, in the next day’s classic, Sulser again was the top finisher, followed by teammates Jech and Thomas.

Bochanski, Timmons and Hough swept the top three sprint race positions in the men’s competition. Timmons and Bochanski then came back the next day to take the top two classic race spots. Wiswell placed fourth, and one place back was teammate Mason Vincent, a Laramie freshman.

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