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Published February 14, 2019
Both University of Wyoming men’s and women’s Nordic ski teams lead their respective divisions in the conference with just one weekend of competition remaining in the regular season.
And both teams have just slim two-point leads over their nearest rivals heading into the team’s home meet Saturday and Sunday at the Happy Jack trails.
“This weekend are the final races, so we’ll see what they can do on home snow to stay on top,” says UW co-head Coach Christi Boggs.
Considering that both UW teams are practically brand-new with many first-time skiers, the young clubs have surprised coaches Boggs and Rachel Watson. The Pokes hold a two-point advantage over Western Colorado University (WCU, Gunnison, Colo.) in the overall conference standings, while the Cowgirls have the same slim lead margin against Colorado Mesa University (CMU, Grand Junction, Colo.).
The UW clubs both had tight finishes during the two-day Western Colorado University Invitational in Crested Butte, Colo., last weekend. The first day was a 21km skate race.
“This was a super-long race, and only one of our freshmen had ever skied anything longer than 10km. We weren’t sure how it would go,” Boggs says.
Senior Trevor Willoughby, from Casper, skied into third place, leading the Pokes and placed just four seconds out of second place. Skiing together in a pack, the UW freshmen came through with top-10 finishes. Matt Williams, from Jackson, and Silas Goetz, of Lander, placed seventh and eighth, respectively. Ben Romanjenko, of Sheridan, placed 21st, and Nicolay Hoven was 25th in his first college race.
The Pokes finished just one point out of first place behind CMU and one point ahead of WCU.
The UW women were led by freshman Zoe Noble, of Pinedale, who skied into third place, only 12 seconds out of second place. She was followed by overall season points’ leader Kat Gruner, from Casper, in fourth; and Laramie’s Ella DeWolf skied through an illness into sixth. Jackson’s Sydney Wiswell was seventh, and Casper’s Maddy Tinker also finished among the top 10 in 10th place.
With five women in the top 10, the Cowgirls captured the overall race.
The UW teams competed in a 6.8km classic race the second day.
“This race went better for some of our people, and some others were super tired,” Boggs says. “When looking at the difference in the results, you could see the freshmen getting tired.”
The men were once again led by Willoughby, who skied into third place. Goetz was the only other Cowboy to place among the top 10 skiers, finishing ninth.
CMU won the day’s race with 13 points, WCU had 19, and UW placed third with 23 points.
For the women, DeWolf came from behind in the last 2km from sixth place to finish third. Gruner placed fifth, and Wiswell and Tinker were right behind in sixth and seventh place, respectively.
The Cowgirls were edged out of the top spot by WCU, finishing just two points out of first place with 14 points.
UW’s Nordic ski team will host a team sprint Saturday and then a 21km skate race Sunday -- all part of the fourth annual Laramie Loppet, a fundraiser for the home teams. Both days of competition also are open to the public to participate.
For more information and to register for the competition, visit www.laramieloppet.weebly.com/.