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Published March 11, 2020
The University of Wyoming women’s Nordic ski team won Wednesday’s sprint race at the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association championships in Lake Placid, N.Y., to close the gap for the overall lead.
For the first time since 2016, the Cowgirls stood atop the podium after putting three team members among the top eight finishers to score 18 points -- three better than national-leading Castleton (Vt.) University. St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minn.) was a distant third with 33 points.
A day earlier, UW co-head Coach Christi Boggs said that the next three races would be the team’s strength in catching Castleton. The Cowgirls cut the first-day deficit to just four points, now trailing in the overall standings 45-41. It is a two-team race with Western State Colorado University (WSCU, Gunnison, Colo.) back with 72 points, and St. Olaf is fourth with 82.
Maddy Tinker, a Casper sophomore, had the overall top finish for the Cowgirls, placing fifth in the A final. Graduate student Ella DeWolf, of Laramie, and sophomore Kat Gruner, of Casper, went first and second in the B final -- two different finals races were run for the top 12 times -- and placed sixth and seventh, respectively, on the day.
“It was an incredibly hard-fought series of races with Maddy, Kat and Ella all making the semifinals. Maddy then crushed it and advanced to the A final, and Ella and Kat to the B final,” Boggs says. “These incredible finishes put the women on the top of the podium for the first time since 2016.”
The young men’s team also put together its best effort of the national competition to put itself in trophy contention at the end of the week.
“Our super young men’s team skied amazing and got on the podium in second place overall for the first time since 2017,” Boggs says.
Castleton stretched its overall lead after taking the sprint competition with a team-low 18 points. The Pokes scored 30 points, and Clarkson University (Pottsdam, N.Y.) was third with 32. UW inched closer to the third-place position and trails St. Olaf by just a single point at 76-75. Castleton leads with 37 points, and WSCU is second with 73 points, making it a tight race for second through fourth places after two races.
UW had three men qualify in the quarterfinals’ top 30: Nathan Kessler, a Buffalo freshman, and sophomores Silas Goetz, of Lander, and Jackson’s Matt Williams and advanced. Williams and Goetz made it through to the semifinals’ top 12, and Kessler was 13th. After the semifinal round, Williams finished in 12th place, and Goetz went on to the A final, where he placed fifth overall.
The team has Thursday off, with action resuming Friday and the final team chase race Saturday.