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UW Nordic Ski Teams Stand Second, Third Heading to Final Day at Nationals

March 11, 2022

The University of  Wyoming’s Nordic ski teams had their best day today (Friday) at the U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association’s Collegiate National Championships in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Both the Cowgirls and Cowboys took second place in the 15k classic mass start race, putting the women in second place overall and the men third before Saturday’s concluding relay competition.

“Today was intensely challenging but filled with extreme moments of beauty; the course had a lot of climbs and technical downhills which necessitated having both great kick and glide wax,” co-head Coach Rachel Watson says. “We did a lot of science for days ahead so that we could select the best combination. We have immense gratitude for our assistant coach, Andrew Siegel, and our wax tech team, Bryan Overcast and Dr. Ben Noren. Together we were able to give the athletes their best chance to succeed, and they did that in spades.”

On the women’s side, Annie Miller, of Minneapolis, Minn., finished seventh, while Samantha Veauthier, of Casper, surged past a Cornell University opponent to take eighth, earning both Cowgirls second-team All-American status.

Also scoring well were Krisanna Andrews, of Laramie, who took 13th; Casper’s Isabella Brown, who finished 20th; and Kailee Behunin, of Lander, in 33rd.

With 28 points on the day, the Cowgirls finished behind only St. Olaf College, of Northfield, Minn., which dominated with 9 points. Paul Smith’s College, of Paul Smith, N.Y., was third with 36. St. Olaf is poised to win the overall team title, and the Cowgirls are aiming to hold the second spot.

On the men’s side, Kaj Taylor, of Palmer, Alaska, charged to fifth place and first-team All-American status.

John Henry Paluszek, of Farmington, N.H., continued his strong week by taking eighth and achieving second-team All-American status. He won the national title in Wednesday’s class sprint and was third in Tuesday’s 7.5km interval start skate race.

Meanwhile, Silas Goetz, of Lander, overcame a high-speed downhill crash that took him from sixth to 25th to finish 14th. Jamie Peacock, of Jackson, was right behind in 15th; Matthew Williams, of Jackson, was 16th; Nathan Kessler, of Buffalo, was 21st; Ben Romanjenko, of Story, had his best race of the week to take 32nd; and Laramie’s Spencer Canen overcame a rough fall to take 37th.

“The addition of Kaj back into the squad, coupled with incredible races by his teammates -- especially Jamie, who broke the tie in favor of the Pokes -- put the men on the podium for the first time this week,” co-head Coach Christ Boggs says.

Paul Smith’s College won the day with 20 points, while UW and St. Olaf tied at 27 before the Cowboys took the tie-breaker.

With the individual events completed, the final overall individual results show Paluszek taking second; Miller seventh; Veauthier ninth; Goetz 12th; Kessler 21st; Peacock 23rd; Williams 29th; Canen 39th; and Romanjenko 40th.

More than 500 student-athletes, representing 53 colleges and universities, are competing in various skiing events at the same site that hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics this week in Lake Placid.

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