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Winning conference championships is nice, but the University of Wyoming Nordic ski club teams look at the much larger picture: winning national championships.
Fresh off another Rocky Mountain Conference championship for both clubs, the UW teams prepare for the United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) championships March 3-7 at Mount Bachelor in Bend, Ore.
The UW Nordic ski club, composed mostly of Wyoming high school graduates, is a national power in the USCSA-sanctioned races. The UW women’s team has won six national titles since Nordic skiing returned as a club sport more than 15 years ago. The men’s team has won four USCSA national championships.
The UW women are the defending USCSA national champions, and the Cowboys are national runners-up. Both will be among the favorites at next week’s championship races.
The Cowgirls and Cowboys wrapped up regular season conference championships last weekend, and also individual titles.
The women’s team had a season-low 78 points, outdistancing runner-up Colorado Mesa University (CMU), which had 174 team points. Western State Colorado University (WSCU) placed third with 281 points, and the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) had 364 points on the year.
Casper junior Elise Sulser was the overall individual women’s champion, while UW Cowboy teammate Mason Vincent, a Laramie freshman, took the overall men’s title. The Pokes had the top two individuals with Will Timmons, an Anchorage, Alaska, sophomore placing second.
The UW men won the overall conference team championship with 106 points; CMU scored 175; USAFA had 251; and WSCU tallied 317 points.
The Cowgirls and Cowboys will take full teams to the USCSA competition next week.
The women’s roster includes: Leann Bentley, a Laramie freshman; Laramie sophomore Meghan Kent; Sierra Jech, a Cody junior; Kristy Palmer, a Laramie graduate student; junior Britta Schroeter, from Ironwood, Mich.; Sulser; and Jackson sophomore Yara Thomas.
On the men’s roster are: Kyle Bochanski, a senior from Fairfax, Vt.; Anchorage senior Kyle Carpenter; Ben Noren, a senior from Ironwood, Mich.; Cheyenne junior Sindre Solvang; Timmons; Casper junior Taylor Vignaroli; Vincent; and Sam Wiswell, a Jackson sophomore.