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The University of Wyoming men’s Nordic ski team placed three racers in the top 10 on the opening day as the Cowboys seek their third straight national title at the 39th annual United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) championships.
“The weather was insane. It was a complete blizzard, and you could hardly see anything,” says UW co-head Coach Christi Boggs. “If you left a pair of skis sitting for five minutes, they would be covered up. Our team skied very well under tough conditions.”
The national championships are being held in the Cascade Mountains at Mount Bachelor, Ore. More than 500 collegiate athletes are competing in alpine, Nordic, snowboard and free ski events.
Mason Vincent, a junior from Laramie, repeated as the 7.5km classic race champion in leading the Pokes to the early team lead with three more races left this week. He was followed in the top 10 by UW teammates Trevor Willoughby, Casper sophomore, third; Will Timmons, a senior from Anchorage, Alaska, fourth; and Sam Wiswell, Jackson senior, sixth.
Sindre Solvang, Cheyenne senior, placed 26th overall.
The UW women, the national runners-up the past two seasons, were third overall in the team standings after day one.
With just two veteran skiers on the team at nationals, the Cowgirls are rebuilding, Boggs says.
Meghan Kent, Laramie senior, had the best finish among the UW women, placing fifth, while teammate Yara Thomas, a Jackson senior, just missed the top 10, finishing 11th. New skiers Sydney Wiswell, freshman from Jackson, and Ella DeWolf, Laramie sophomore, were 21st and 22nd, respectively.
Leann Bentley, a Laramie sophomore, and senior Victoria Hollingsworth, of Jackson, were 24th and 36th.
Action resumes Wednesday with the skate sprint. A 15km skate is scheduled Friday, and the closing team sprint classic Saturday wraps up the week.
Late last week, the team had all its equipment returned from the Universiade World University Games last month in Almaty, Kazakhstan, just in time for this week’s national competition.
The team left the world competition without its gear, and a month’s delay left the team scraping together borrowed equipment, but a crowdfunding source helped the team raise the necessary $8,000 to have the equipment shipped back to the United States.