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Cody sophomore Sierra Jech won the opening cross country race Tuesday at the 34th annual United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) championships March 6-10, in Bethel, Maine.
Jech won the Nordic 1.5km classic sprint to help the Cowgirls to second place overall on the first day of competition. She led a three-member UW contingent to All-American honors. Earning that status were teammates Bridget Weiner, a Casper sophomore, who finished sixth; and Sarah Johnson, a junior from Duluth, Minn., who placed ninth.
"Sierra just skied so well. When Sierra hit the final hill, she just caught everyone and put them all away," says UW Coach Christi Boggs. "And to have six of our women in the top 16 is pretty impressive. They just rocked in this first race."
The top 10 finishers in both the women's and men's divisions earn All-American honors.
The Cowgirls had six team members place among the top 16. Competitors start out with an interval start, spaced 15 seconds apart. The top 16 finishers move on to head-to-head competition, which includes at least three separate rounds of racing.
Freshman Linnea Dixson and her sister Sarah, a sophomore, both from Steamboat Springs, Colo.; and Cara Noseworthy, a Medford, N.J., senior; also made the round of 16 for UW.
Clarkson University (Potsdam, N.Y.) leads the overall race with a team-low 12 points, while the Cowgirls are just two points back. St. Olaf (Northfield, Minn.) is in third place.
The UW men also put three team members into the top 10 to earn All-American status. Overall, the Cowboys are tied for third place with the United States Military Academy (Army), West Point, N.Y. Clarkson University leads the pack and St. Olaf is second. Men's overall team points were unavailable.
Nathan Hough, a Casper sophomore, had the highest finish for the Poke skiers with his seventh place finish. Junior Kyle Bochanski of Fairfax, Vt., finished eighth and Willie Via, a junior from Fairbanks, Alaska, placed 10th.
An 8.5 km skate race is on tap Wednesday. Competitors have Thursday off.