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Published February 15, 2023
The University of Wyoming Nordic ski teams’ only home meet of the season -- the annual Laramie Loppet -- joins not only UW Nordic ski team members and regional rivals, but also community members.
UW’s home invitational is Friday and Saturday, Feb. 18-19, with an open citizen race scheduled Sunday at the Tie Siding ski trails at Happy Jack. The race will help raise money for UW’s program to compete at the collegiate national championships in Mammoth, Calif., next month.
UW’s team competed last weekend and compiled a pair of wins during the Colorado State University (CSU) invitational in Leadville, Colo. Saturday’s competition was a 7.5km interval start classic race.
The Cowboys’ Andrew Siegel, an MFA student in creative writing from Bethel, Maine, shifted from his assistant coaching role to ski for the team. He took an early lead and widened his margin by the finish, besting the second-place skier by more than a minute. Siegel’s teammates had strong finishes, enabling the Cowboys to finish second overall with 21 points.
Kaj Taylor, a chemical engineering major from Palmer, Alaska, placed eighth; Spencer Canen, an outdoor recreation and tourism management major from Laramie, was 11th; Matthew Williams, a kinesiology major from Jackson, finished 12th; Sean Kraemer, an earth systems science major from Conifer, Colo., was 15th; and Ethan Dowalter, a UW graduate student in computer science from Fredericktown, Ohio, placed 35th.
Visiting student-athletes from China also placed: Ray Yang took 27th; Leo Li was one place back of his teammate; John Huang came in 29th; Andy Zhu was 32nd; and Benji Tan placed 34th.
Western Colorado University (WCU) won the race with seven points, followed by UW. Colorado Mesa University took third with 30 points, and the host CSU team scored 42 points for fourth.
The Cowgirls took both the individual and team wins.
Anne Miller, a kinesiology major from Minneapolis, Minn., reached the top of the podium, winning the race by more than 45 seconds, besting CSU’s top skier. Miller’s teammate, Sammy Veauthier, a zoology major from Casper, took the final podium spot just three seconds behind the second-place finisher.
The Cowgirls’ win was commanding, with UW women taking four of the top five places. Eva Smith, a doctoral student in geology and geophysics from Granville, Ohio, came in fourth; Krisanna Andrews, a secondary education major from Laramie, was one spot behind her teammate; Isabella Brown, an architectural engineering major from Casper, took 10th; Izzy Bergemann, a civil engineering major from Minneapolis, Minn., finished 14th; and Kori Mooney, a master’s student in civil engineering from Kalispell, Mont., placed 25th.
Visiting student-athletes from China also placed: Doris Yan was a 15th-place finisher; Caroline Cheng placed 19th; Abby Deng finished 21st; Luna Jiang took 23rd; and Heidi Shen was 24th.
The Cowgirls won the day with eight points; CSU was the runner-up with 16; the Air Force Academy placed third with 36 points; Colorado College took fourth with 37; and WCU came in fifth with 46 points.
“In the warming temperatures of the afternoon, waxing conditions were challenging,” says former UW Cowboy Ben Noren, of Ironwood, Mich., a team wax technician. “We had athletes on every possible combination of wax. We finished final adjustments to their skis less than a minute before the start.”
Sunday’s race was a mixed-team, sprint-in-skate style, with scoring teams composed of two men and one woman. Under the format, each competitor skis a 1.5km loop three times and hands off to a teammate after each lap.
“The format of the team sprint gave UW a huge advantage over other teams because both our men and women are exceedingly strong,” co-head Coach Rachel Watson says.
UW co-head Coach Christi Boggs adds that, when the gun went off, 21 teams “sprung into motion.”
“It looked tight out of the start, with Andrew Siegel fighting head-to-head with WCU and CSU’s top skiers,” Boggs says. “However, when the skiers came around for the first handoff, Andrew had gained a 20-second margin. He then handed off to Anne Miller who maintained the lead and tagged Kaj Taylor, UW’s final team member.”
UW’s team dominated all three laps to top the field over WCU and Colorado College.
UW also had a nonscoring team composed of graduate and postdoctoral skiers competing: Noren, Smith and John Henry Paluszek, a master’s student in botany from Farmington, N.H., came from the back to claim second place overall.
Other UW nonscoring teams also competed: Veauthier, Andrews and Williams were ninth; Brown, Kraemer and Canen placed 11th; Bergemann, Yan and Li took 15th; Yang, Cheng and Huang came in 18th; Jiang, Deng and Zhu took 19th; and Mooney, Shen and Tan placed 21st.