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UW Nordic Ski Teams Claim Early National Leads

March 8, 2016

Lake Placid, N.Y., host of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, should be the University of Wyoming Nordic ski teams’ home away from home.

Both UW teams came through in the opening round of the 38th annual United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association national championships at Lake Placid Tuesday to take the early lead. The competition runs through Saturday, March 12.

Two years ago, on the ski trails that also were used for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, the UW Cowgirls won the team’s sixth national title since 2003, while the UW men were the national runners-up. A year ago in Bend, Ore., the Cowboys went wire-to-wire in winning the team’s fifth national title during the same time span as their Cowgirl counterparts. The UW women placed second a year ago.

This year, more than 500 skiers nationwide are competing for national collegiate titles in alpine and Nordic skiing, and snowboard/freeski events. UW’s Nordic club teams compete in Division II at the national meet.

During Tuesday’s opening 15km race, both UW teams won their respective divisions, while crowning individual national champions.

Mason Vincent, of Laramie, and teammate Will Timmons, Anchorage, Alaska, led the Pokes through the entire race with Vincent earning the win after a fall left Timmons in third place. Jackson’s Sam Wiswell placed ninth despite being ill the entire race. Trevor Willoughby, of Casper, competing at nationals for the first time, placed 15th; Casper’s Taylor Vignaroli came in 17th; and Ben Noreen, of Ironwood, Mich., placed 23rd.

Western State University (Gunnison, Colo.) was second overall to the Cowboys, 14 points behind the Pokes, and the United States Air Force Academy was third, making it a Rocky Mountain Conference sweep.

The Cowgirls, meanwhile, had to hold off a hard-charging Clarkson University team to claim the early team race by three points over the Potsdam, N.Y., team.

For the Cowgirls, Elise Sulser, of Casper, started strongly in the first race at nationals, but had trouble shaking a pair of racers from Clarkson and St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minn.) But, the opposing racers slowly faded, with Sulser winning by almost 1:45, UW co-head Coach Christi Boggs says.

Laramie’s Meghan Kent crossed the finish line in seventh place; Yara Thomas, of Jackson, was a close ninth; and, after a rough start, Bridget Weiner, from Casper, placed 15th. Britta Schroeter, from Ironwood, Mich., finished 19th.

“It should be a great week,” Boggs says.

Action continues Wednesday with a 15km race, and competitors have Thursday off. Action resumes Friday with the 1.5 classic sprint, and the week ends with Saturday’s freestyle team relay.

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