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Published March 10, 2020
With two individuals among the top five skiers in the opening race Tuesday at the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) championships, the University of Wyoming women’s Nordic ski team is in second place overall.
Competing in Lake Placid, N.Y., this week, UW sophomores Ella DeWolf, of Laramie, was the national runner-up in the 7.5km freestyle race, while teammate Kat Gruner, of Casper, finished fifth to boost the Cowgirls to second place, seven points behind Castleton (Vt.) University.
Castleton scored 20 points on the opening day, the Cowgirls have 27, Western State Colorado University (WSCU, Gunnison, Colo.) is third with 35 points, and fourth is Clarkson College (Pottsdam, N.Y.) with 40.
“Those two women started very relaxed and then just raged,” UW co-head Coach Christi Boggs says. “It was crazy awesome for our top two women. The rest of the UW women also skied extremely well.”
In her first collegiate competition, Michaela Forty, a Westford, Mass., freshman, placed 20th; Madison Tinker, a Casper sophomore, was 22nd; Xiarun Duan, a Shanghai University of Sport (SUS) visiting scholar took 25th; Lander sophomore Morgan Robins was 27th; and SUS athletes Laimei Wang placed 30th; Dan Yan took 33rd; Jinliang Li was 36th; and Murong You was 37th. Krisanna Andrews, a Laramie freshman, placed 39th.
Boggs says the Cowgirls’ best races are the sprint Wednesday and team sprint scheduled on the final day of competition Saturday.
“We are hoping to make up the seven points to Castleton with our best races coming up,” she adds.
The UW men also had a solid day in one of the strongest fields Boggs has have ever seen at USCSA nationals.
Sophomores Silas Goetz, of Lander, and Jackson’s Matt Williams “slogged through the rain and the slushy snow” into personal best places of 12th and 13t , respectively, just one second apart and only seven seconds out of the top 10.
They led the Pokes to fourth place in the standings with 46 points. St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minn.) and Castleton lead the pack and will be hard to catch with 17 and 19 points, respectively. UW has a chance at third place and trails WSCU by 11 points.
In the field of 61 competitors, UW’s Nathan Kessler, a Buffalo freshman, skied to 21st place, and Sheridan sophomore Ben Romanjenko was 48th.
SUS visiting scholars Jailue Meng was 55th, and Junbao Wang, Dongyong Han, Chaojie Liu and Pengfei Lin were 58th-61st, respectively
“It was incredibly hard skiing and a fantastic field out there on the first day. By the time the men started, it was raining and the snow had turned into something that resembled snow cones. Slow and soft -- the hardest conditions in which to ski,” Boggs says. “We are proud of our team’s grit in these conditions, and we look forward to watching them in the sprint race Wednesday.”