UW Nordic Teams Sprint to Early Leads at Nationals

March 5, 2013

The University of Wyoming’s Nordic club teams are off to a great start at the 35th annual United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) championships in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Both the Cowboys and Cowgirls stand in first place after the first day of competition, which featured the 1.5-kilometer sprint race.

“That was everything we could possibly have asked for, and more,” UW Coach Christi Boggs says. “They came out stamping their intentions on the week.”

Senior Kyle Bochanski of Fairfax, Vt., led the way, tying for the national championship in a photo finish in the men’s competition.

“We all knew he had that ability, but he has been sick on and off all year, and we weren’t sure he could pull it together today,” Boggs says. “We’re pleased it worked out today.”

Bochanski led a four-man UW contingent to All-America honors. Also earning that status were freshman Taylor Vignaroli of Casper, fourth place; junior Nathan Hough of Casper, fifth; and junior Patrick Rodgers of Casper, 10th.

The top 10 finishers in both the women’s and men’s divisions earn All-America honors.

The UW women’s team All-Americans in the 1.5K sprint are junior Sierra Jech of Cody, who placed second; junior Sarah Johnson of Duluth, Minn., fourth; junior Bridget Weiner of Casper, seventh; and Britta Schroeter of Ironwood, Mich., 10th.

Also placing for UW in the men’s competition were senior Willie Via of Fairbanks, Alaska, 20th; and sophomore Sindre Solvang of Cheyenne, 30th.

Other placers for the women were senior Catherine Schmidt of Laramie, 11th; and senior Shanna McCleary of Casper, 16th.

The Cowboys, who finished as the national runners-up last year, sit at the top of the team standings with a team-low eight points, followed by Clarkson University of New York with 14 and St. Olaf College of Minnesota with 31. UW won national men’s championships in 2006, 2009 and 2010.

The Cowgirls, who finished third last year, have an even bigger lead in the team standings than the men. UW sits on top with a team-low 13 points, followed by Clarkson University with 25 and St. Olaf with 31. UW won national women’s championships in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The 2013 championships continue through Saturday in Sun Valley. An 8.5-kilometer classic race is on tap Wednesday. Competitors have Thursday off. A 15-kilometer skate race is Friday, and the competition concludes with Saturday’s  three-by-5K relay.

“We’re a pretty strong sprint team, so we knew we needed to have a good day today,” Boggs says. “We’re also a really good classic team, so we’re looking to do well tomorrow also.”

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