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Published March 10, 2023
A shortened schedule for Nordic cross country skiers at this week’s U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) Championships at Mammoth, Calif., produced solid final results for the University of Wyoming’s program.
First, the UW Cowgirls barely missed hoisting the national championship trophy Thursday afternoon, settling for second place. The UW women scored 61 team points through three races, while St. Olaf College, of Northfield, Minn., claimed the national title, finishing just two points ahead of the Cowgirls.
And, second, UW Cowboy team member Andrew Siegel, an MFA student in creative writing from Bethel, Maine, was the overall national champion points leader with 435, outdistancing Aiden Ripp, of Paul Smith’s College, in Paul Smiths, N.Y., by 10 points. As a team, the Cowboys placed third overall.
California’s high country this week endured another storm that produced even more snow in the mountains, causing USCSA to alter this week’s schedule for the more than 500 athletes competing for team and individual titles in alpine, Nordic, snowboard and free ski events.
Nordic skiers were the only athletes who had the opportunity to get in most of their competitions, completing three separate days of racing, with only the team race -- scheduled for Saturday -- being canceled. The blizzard-like conditions for most of the week wiped out the remaining schedules, with alpine skiers competing for just one day.
“We were afraid of the storm coming in yesterday, but it kept away long enough to get through our races,” UW co-head Coach Christi Boggs says. “We had a great day.”
This is the 25th year Boggs and co-head Coach Rachel Watson have led the UW Nordic ski program. Coincidentally, they started their careers on this same course -- the last time the national event was held in Mammoth.
Two Cowgirls finished the week by placing among the top 15 finishers in the 15km skate Thursday morning. Sammy Veauthier, a zoology major from Casper, and Anne Miller, a kinesiology major from Minneapolis, Minn., were third and fourth, respectively, while Krisanna Andrews, a secondary education major from Laramie, earned 14th place.
All three were named All-American by placing among the top 10 overall during the week.
Also placing for the UW women in the final race were Dan “Doris” Yan in 29th place; Xi “Caroline” Cheng in 36th; and Shiqi “Abby” Deng in 37th. All are visiting students from Shanghai University of Sport.
The Cowgirls won the final race with a team-low 21 points, topping St. Olaf’s by three points. In the overall team standings, the Minnesota school was first with 59 points, followed by UW’s 61; Paul Smith’s was a distant third with 137 points; and Colorado State University and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMN-TC) tied with 151 points.
Siegel led the Cowboys in the final race, finishing second; Kaj Taylor, a chemical engineering major from Palmer, Alaska, placed 21st; Matthew Williams, a kinesiology major from Jackson, was 31st; Sean Kraemer, an earth systems science major from Evergreen, Colo., had his best race of the week, taking 34th; and Jamie Peacock, a physiology major from Jackson, was 40th.
UW team members Baitu “Leo” Li and Xudong “Ray” Yang, both visiting students from Shanghai University of Sport in China, were 54th and 59th, respectively.
The Cowboys placed fourth in the week’s final race. Western Colorado University, located in Gunnison, Colo., won the men’s Division II national title with 44 points, followed by Paul Smith’s College at 51; the Cowboys had 110; Clarkson University, in Potsdam, N.Y., scored 122; and UMN-TC rounded out the top five with 153 points.