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Published February 23, 2023
Home trails were good to the University of Wyoming Nordic ski teams, as the Cowgirls and Cowboys managed to win team titles during the annual Laramie Loppet competition at the Happy Jack course.
Last weekend’s two-day competition was the final regular season Rocky Mountain Conference race for UW as the teams prepare for the national collegiate championships March 7-11 in Mammoth, Calif. The Cowgirls were this season’s conference champions, while the Cowboys were the runners-up in the men’s competition.
Last Saturday’s race was a classic sprint on a hilly 1.6km course. Anne Miller, a kinesiology major from Minneapolis, Minn., Sammy Veauthier, a zoology major from Casper, Krisanna Andrews, a secondary education major from Laramie, and Isabella Brown, an architectural engineering major from Casper, all qualified for the semifinal elimination round.
“The semifinals for the women were both elating and devastating. In Krisanna’s semi, the skier in front of her crashed just after starting,” UW co-head Coach Christi Boggs says. “This tripped Krisanna and made it nearly impossible for her to pull back the lost time. She had to settle for the consolation round in the final.”
But, Cowgirls Miller and Veauthier both qualified for the finals. Miller skied from the front to post a commanding win, and Veauthier fought hard with the top skiers from Colorado State University (CSU) and Western Colorado University (WCU) to end up in third place by just a toe.
Andrews placed seventh overall, and Brown was one place behind her Cowgirl teammate.
The UW women took the team title with 10 points, followed by CSU with 17. The Air Force Academy placed third with 34 points; WCU scored 37; and Colorado College finished fifth with 43 points.
The Cowboys also had a strong finish, tying with WCU for the team title with 12 points each. Colorado College and Colorado Mesa University (CMU) finished in third and fourth places with 44 and 45 points, respectively. CSU scored 49 points; the Air Force Academy was fifth with 62; and Denver University placed seventh with 65 points.
After a season of fighting hard against WCU, the Cowboys showed that their careful training has started to pay off, Boggs says.
Andrew Siegel, an MFA student in creative writing from Bethel, Maine; Jamie Peacock, a physiology major from Jackson; Kaj Taylor, a chemical engineering major from Palmer, Alaska; and Matthew Williams, a kinesiology major from Jackson, all qualified for the semifinal elimination round.
Both Taylor and Siegel won their semifinal races and advanced to the “A” final. Siegel managed a decisive win, and Taylor battled it out with two WCU skiers until about 100 meters from the finish line.
“However, Kaj’s fitness showed, allowing him to take second,” Boggs says.
Peacock and Williams placed ninth and 13th, respectively.
The Cowgirls dominated Sunday’s 15km skate race when four team members placed among the top 10 finishers to take the overall title for the second straight day with 13 points. CSU was the runner-up with 17; Colorado College notched 26; the Air Force Academy placed fourth with 40 points; and WCU was next with 43.
Veauthier was the race’s top finisher. She was followed by teammates Miller and Brown, who were fourth and fifth, respectively. Andrews came in ninth.
In the men’s competition, WCU edged the UW men in the final team standings by just a single point: 12 to 13. Colorado College was next with 34 points; CMU took fourth with 49; CSU scored 51 points; Denver University was sixth at 56; and the Air Force Academy scored 63 points for seventh place.
Siegel was the top finisher for the second straight day, while teammate Taylor was the runner-up, and Williams placed 10th.
In the season-ending standings, Veauthier, who went wire-to-wire, was the women’s overall top individual, which rewards both a competitor’s speed and consistency. Brown scored the third-most points during the conference season, while Andrews placed sixth.
Taylor was the men’s overall top skier this past season, while teammate Williams placed ninth in the standings.
The Cowgirls won the regular Rocky Mountain Conference team title with 105 points, easily outdistancing Colorado College, which was the runner-up with 196 points, while CSU was two points behind with 198.
WCU was the men’s top team this winter with a low of 75 points, while the Cowboys were second with 140 points. Colorado College was a distant third with 303 points.
UW has 15 qualifiers for next month’s national competition. Cowgirl qualifiers are Andrews; Izzy Bergemann, a civil engineering major from Minneapolis, Minn.; Miller; and Veauthier.
The men’s qualifiers are Spencer Canen, an outdoor recreation and tourism management major from Laramie; Sean Kraemer, an earth systems science major from Conifer, Colo.; Peacock; Siegel; Taylor; and Williams.
The list also includes visiting students from Shanghai University Sport in China: Xi “Caroline” Cheng, Shiqi “Abby” Deng, Baitu “Leo” Li, Dan “Doris” Yan and Xudong “Ray” Yang.