UW Women win Nordic Ski Championship
Kari Boroff of Daniel, and Mae Peterson of Pinedale, competed
by University of Wyoming
March 12, 2007
(Laramie, Wyoming) - Not even a blinding snowstorm could stop the University of Wyoming women's Nordic ski team from capturing its third national title in four years.
Despite coming in second in the final race of the week last Saturday, the 3x5 relay, the Cowgirls outdistanced the field to capture the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) Nationals at Snow Mountain Ranch near Winter Park, Colo. A snowstorm hampered the women skiers at the start of Saturday's competition, but improved later in the day when the men competed.
The UW women had a team-low 44 points to easily recapture the national title after finishing second a year ago. The Cowgirls outdistanced last year's national champions St. Olaf College of Northfield, Minn., which had 100 points. The University of Main-Presque Isle placed third with 105 points, Clarkson University of Potsdam, N.Y., was next with 149 and placing fifth with 174 points was Cornell University of Ithaca, N.Y.
"We thought our women had a chance at a win, but with so many more teams competing and the strength of St. Olaf's team, we knew it would be tough," says UW co-coach Christi Boggs, assistant lecturer in the UW College of Education. "Our women just skied phenomenally all week and didn't really give anyone else a chance. There is only one senior on our team and the fourth-place overall woman is a freshman. We're hoping for great things again next year."
Five UW Cowgirls placed among the top 10 skiers in the overall individual standings. Erin Hammer, a sophomore from Lander, junior Kari Boroff of Daniel, and Casper freshman Kelsie Speiser, placed second, third and fourth, respectively. Casper senior Melissa Gangl placed seventh and in 10th place was Katie Turner, a junior from Chugiak, Alaska.
Boroff captured UW's only national title winning the 8.5km classic race earlier in the competition. Speiser and Hammer placed high in two individual events.
In a reversal of roles, the UW men placed second to Cornell University by a single point, 66 to 67. A year ago, the Cowboys edged Cornell by one point to capture UW's first men's Nordic ski title in the USCSA competition. This year St. Olaf placed third with 100 team points, followed by Clarkson University with 124 and placing fifth was the University of Main-Presque Isle with 184 points.
"The men's overall second place finish was way better than we ever dreamed," Boggs says. "The surprise finish came because the men's team had plenty of newcomers, and the few veterans on the club had never placed as high as last week."
Freshman John Kirlin of Casper had the highest finish in the overall standings for the UW men at third place. A pair of Lander skiers placed among the top 10: Brian Sebade, a junior, and senior Josh Peterson tied for ninth. As anchorman, Peterson helped lead the Cowboys to a win in the final 3x5 relay race, just edging Cornell.
Sebade placed in the top 10 in all three individual events and Kirlin in two.
For the week, both UW teams produced individual All-Americans in each race. They were:
1.5km sprint men -- Peterson, Sebade and Kirlin, all second team.
1.5km sprint women -- Hammer, Gangl and Turner, all first team; and Boroff, second team.
15km skate men -- Peterson and Kirlin, first team; and Sebade, second team.
15km skate women -- Hammer, Speiser and Boroff, all first team; and Gangl and Mae Peterson, Pinedale freshman, both second team.
8.5km classic men -- Kirlin, first team; and Sebade, second team.
8.5km classic women -- Boroff, first team and national champion; Speiser and Hammer, also first team; and Turner, second team.
Relay men -- Kirlin, Sebade and Peterson, national champions.
Relay women -- Boroff, Gangl and Hammer, second place.
Hammer, Mae Peterson and Josh Peterson all were named first team Academic All-Americans. Receiving second team recognition were Boroff, Turner and Jacob Peterson, a Lander sophomore.
"This was probably the most successful nationals we have ever had; it was a very good week," Boggs adds.