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Both University of Wyoming Nordic ski club teams picked up weekend victories on the 10,000-foot Grand Mesa near Grand Junction, Colo.
UW’s clubs won both Saturday’s 1km sprint race and Sunday’s 10km classic race in a meet hosted by Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction).
Kyle Bochanski of Fairfax, Vt., ran away with the men's title. He was followed closely by Taylor Vignaroli, a Casper freshman. Patrick Rogers, a Casper junior, placed eighth; Willie Via, Fairbanks, an Alaska senior, took 12th; and Cheyenne sophomore Sindre Solvang was one place back in 13th.
The men won the day’s race with a team-low 11 points, followed by Colorado Mesa University (CMU) with 23; Western State College (WSC), Gunnison, Colo., scored 32; and the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), Colorado Springs, Colo., had 34.
The UW women were even more impressive in their 1km race. Cody junior Sierra Jech led the Cowgirls with a first-place finish and was followed closely in second by teammate Sarah Johnson, a junior from Duluth, Minn. Linnea Dixon, a Steamboat Springs, Colo., sophomore; Catherine Schmidt, a Laramie senior; and Britta Schroeter, of Ironwood, Mich., were all close behind, finishing fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
Bridget Weiner, a Casper junior, placed 10th, and Binny Loveless, from New York City, N.Y., was the final UW skier in 14th place.
The Cowgirls dominated the day with a team-low seven points, followed by CMU with 19 points and the USAFA scored 28.
“It was an awesome day of racing for the Pokes. Some of our athletes have been struggling with illness and they finally had a good day,” co-head Coach Christi Boggs says. “We are still struggling to put a full, healthy women's team on the track at the same time. We are hopeful that we will soon have them all ready to go.”
Despite fielding a six-member women’s team Saturday, only four were healthy enough to race the next day. The Cowgirls still managed to pull off the team win with 10 points, just getting by CMU, which had 11 points. The USAFA scored 28.
Jech once again dominated the women’s competition, winning the race by two minutes. She was followed by Johnson in fourth place; Schroeter took fifth; and Loveless was 12th.
The men's race was close. Rodgers was the runner-up, finishing just 20 seconds behind WSC’s Chris Lange. Bochanski placed fourth; Via was fifth; Taylor took eighth; and Solvang was two places back in 10th.
The Cowboys managed to hold their lead with 11 points, followed by WSC with 20. CMU scored 23 and the USAFA had 33.
“It was truly a fantastic day of skiing and it looks like the team is strong,” Boggs says. “Despite illness, the women look good and the men are just starting to race to their potential.”
The UW Nordic skiers have a Division I race in New Mexico this weekend, followed by a national championship qualifying competition in Aspen, Colo.
The team’s annual Cowboy Chase race, fundraising dinner and raffle will take place Feb. 16-17.