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Published February 05, 2020
It was a sweep for the University of Wyoming Nordic ski teams last weekend.
The Cowboys and Cowgirls won both the 21km skate race and the 5km classic race at Crested Butte, Colo., during the Western Colorado University (WCU) Invitational.
Laramie’s Ella DeWolf won both races, by 3.5 minutes the first day and 15 seconds the second. Kat Gruner, from Casper, was second both days. Casper’s Maddy Tinker also skied well, placing sixth Saturday and fifth the following day.
The three top 10 finishes put the Cowgirls 11 points in front of WCU and 19 over Colorado Mesa University (CMU) for the skate race. The UW women were 14 points ahead of CMU and 17 points in front of WCU the following day.
The Cowgirls sit in first place in the season rankings with 34 points, WCU has 72, and CMU is third with 93.
In addition to the top three UW women, Jackson’s Sydney Wiswell and Michaela Forty, from Vermont, went 11-12 in the skate race, followed by Morgan Robins, from Lander, in 15th; UW visiting scholar Xiaorun Duan, from Shanghai University of Sport (SUS), 17th; Krisanna Andrews, Laramie, 18th; Dan Yan, SUS, 20th; Jinliang Li, SUS, 22nd; Sloan Dworian, Alaska, 23rd; Murong Yu, SUS, 27th; Eva Koplin, Minnesota, 28th; and Ellie Inkster, Minnesota, 29th.
Robins placed ninth during Sunday’s race. Other Cowgirls placing were Yan, 14th; Duan, 15th; Dworian, 16th; Yu, 17th; Andrews, 18th; Li, 20th; Inkster, 22nd; and Koplin, 27th.
“Our women are currently skiing at a very high level, and we just need to keep them healthy and raging for a shot at competing for the national championship,” UW co-head Coach Christi Boggs says.
The men also skied well during the weekend competition.
“The top men are all freshmen or sophomores, but are dominating the conference,” Boggs says.
During Saturday’s race, the Pokes finished second, third, ninth and 11th, led by Jackson’s Matthew Williams; Silas Goetz, from Lander; Buffalo’s Nathan Kessler; and Ben Romanjenko, from Sheridan. That gave the UW men 13 points, topping WCU by three points and CMU by five.
In Sunday’s 5km classic, Goetz placed second, and Williams was third. Kessler skied to his best finish of the season in fifth, and Romanjenko was 13th.
The Cowboys took that team title by five points against CMU and 10 over WCU. The UW men came into the weekend just two points behind WCU for the overall standings, and they are now 11 points up on WCU and 25 ahead of CMU after the latest races.
Other place winners for the Pokes in Saturday’s race were Stein Wiederholt, Casper, 13th; Jialue Meng, SUS, 14th; Dongyang Han, SUS, 18th; Junbao Wang, SUS, 20th; Chaojie Liu, SUS, 22nd; and Pengfei Lin, SUS, 23rd.
In Sunday’s classic, UW place winners were Han, 14th; Wang, 16th; Meng, 18th; Liu, 19th; Wiederholt, 20th; and Lin, 25th.
“We never expected our men to be so strong because most of them are either all freshmen or sophomores,” Boggs says. “I don’t think they even know how fast they can ski, and it’s going to be exciting to watch as they get stronger.”
She adds that the teams also are receiving good performances from SUS athletes and the UW team members who are scoring team points.
The UW teams will compete in the Owl Creek Chase 21km classic race in Aspen, Colo., this weekend.