Friday, February 29, 2008

Here we go!

I just wanted to write a quick note with some information as to where we'll be staying and racing.

We have rented a farm in Peru, Maine to stay. It looks awesome and has plenty of beds. The owner grew up on it and turned it into a vacation rental. It's in the traditional Maine fashion of Front House, Middle House, Back House, Barn. You can find pictures and info at: http://retreatsnewengland.com/

We'll be racing at Black Mountain Nordic Center near Rumford, Maine. It's about 15-20 minutes from the farm and is a great venue. The US National Championships have been held there as well as Junior Nationals. It should be an amazing venue! You can see a little about it at: http://www.skiblackmountain.org/cross_country.html

We hope to have a good showing and a lot of fun. Be sure to check the Blog for updates from Nationals.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Greetings from the North!

I want to wish everyone good luck this next week in the upcoming Snow Mountain Stampede and USCSA Nationals! I have been reading the blog, keeping up with the website, and talking to a few of you and it sounds like all y'all are ready to rock!

For those of you travelling to Maine, you will finally get to see the infamous Bethel, Maine, just remember to look twice when you go through any intersections!

Many of you know this but I have recently relocated to Anchroage, AK from Houston, TX... It goes without saying that I am thrilled for the change! I have been racing a little, last week I raced a 10k skate, wearing my old-school waffle uniform and it was recognized instantly as being from UW! This weekend I am taking on the 25k skate race at the annual Tour of Anchorage, I think I might rock the waffle suit one more time....

Have a blast at the Stampede and Nationals, I am so honored to be able to consider myself a part of a team that represents the Univeristy of Wyoming and the state of Wyoming with pride and class everywhere they go!

I will be thinking about you all week and can't wait to hear the results...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Slow, smooth and with perfect technique!

The title is the description of the winners of the annual Zone 1 Race held at Happy Jack this afternoon.

Every year we have a race to see who can ski a loop the fastest while staying in Zone 1. If an athlete has a heart rate monitor, 90% of them do, then they ski with their HR in Zone 1 and have to show their watch at checkpoints on the loop. If they do not have HR monitors then they have to stop at the check points and take their Heart Rates. If their HR is above Zone 1 then they have a penalty, they have to perform "I'm a little teapot" with all the motions or various other serious penalties.

The purpose of this race is to show who has done the best job training appropriately and it is truly amazing how the Zone 1 race mirrors the actual races showing that the fittest athletes have trained the most in Zone 1 AND can ski the fastest in that Zone. It is also a test of technique since you are able to ski faster at a lower HR if you are more technically sound.

AND THE WINNERS ARE: For the second time in his illustrious career Joe Howdyshell finished first, despite skiing an extra loop! Joe was followed by Brian Sebade and Justin Kinner neither of whom had HR monitors so had to stop at all check points for HR checks!

Finishing first for the women the amazing Kari Boroff! Kari has won every, single Zone 1 race since the very first one! She is one quick-slow skier and always amazingly fit. Her hours of hiking, running, skiing, etc. have really paid off over the years and she just pulls further and further ahead of the competition. Kari outpaced Erin Hammer and Marie Cartwright for the win. Marie had an astonishingly good finish for a freshman and Erin only had to do the chicken dance twice!

Congratulations to all the athletes who finished this grueling competition. Watch out world we are ready for Nationals!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

OAP Trip Spring 2008

We had our fall OAP trip this past weekend and it was great! We had two people return from the fall group which makes us extremely happy because it means we did our job. That job is to introduce people to skiing so that they want to continue skiing!

They were the best group we have ever taken on a trip, great attitudes, extremely excited and really great to work with. We hope they continue to ski!

We didn't have a great turnout from team members but Joe, Adam and Shannon were great. It's a fun thing to do, to teach someone to do the thing you love and do so well. We don't get much chance to do this as a group but when we do it's always great fun.

We hope that the participants had as much fun as we did. The pictures have been posted online at http://picasaweb.google.com/uwyonordic/OutdoorAdventureProgramSpring2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cowboy Chase Synopsis...

Last weekend was the final season race for the UW Nordic Team. It was the home race, the Cowboy Chase, as well as being the Western Regionals for the USCSA. The college teams that were in attendance were University of Wyoming, United States Air Force Academy and Colorado Mountain College. There was also an open citizen’s event. It consisted of two races, Saturday’s was a 15km skate race and Sunday’s was a 7.5km classic race. They were both held at the Pole Mountain Nordic Trails. Results can be found at: http://www.uwyo.edu/ski/racing.html

Saturday was a beautiful day for racing with 20 degree temperatures and well groomed trails. The Cowboys had a great day sweeping 1-6, they were helped by illness in the Air Force team. John Kirlin won the race by over a minute beating team mates Justin Kinner, Brian Sebade, Michael Fitzgerald, Nicholai Smith and Adam Kargas. Patrick Richards placed 8th, less than a minute behind Adam. The Cowgirls also skied extremely well behind Freshman Marie Cartwright who just edged out Gwynn Barrows by 2 seconds. Erin Hammer, Liz Turner, Katie Turner, Karyn Liebsch and Mae Peterson rounded out the top 7 with Gina Shively and Aubree Haffey coming in 9th & 10th.

It was a great day with some really solid finishes. The weeks of Division I racing really paid off.

Following a fundraising dinner and raffle on Saturday night the Pokes were on the trails again Sunday morning with a 7.5km classic race. The men skied strong again taking the top 4 spots. Brian Sebade lead the Cowboys, only .7 seconds in front of John Kirlin. Jacob Peterson wasn’t far behind, only 17 seconds. Justin Kinner placed a solid 4th with Michael Fitzgerald 6th and Adam Kargas in 7th. The women also continued their dominance with a 1-6 sweep. Gwynn Barrows lead with Katie Turner, Marie Cartwright, Liz Turner, Mae Peterson and Gina Shively. Aubree Haffey placed 8th and Karyn Liebsch 10th.

It was a extremely successful weekend that concluded with 8 cowboys and 6 cowgirls qualifying for USCSA Nationals. Qualifiers for the men are John Kirlin, Brian Sebade, Jacob Peterson, Justin Kinner, Nicholai Smith, Michael Fitzgerald, Patrick Richards and Adam Karges. The women are: Marie Cartwright, Liz Turner, Katie Turner, Erin Hammer, Mae Peterson and Karyn Liebsch. Gwynn Barrows is red-shirting to do a study abroad.

USCSA Nationals will be held in Black Mountain, Maine March 4-8. The men are trying to better their 2nd place finish from last year, when they lost to Cornell by 1 point. They are a stronger and more cohesive team and have a real shot of getting revenge. The best teams in the Nation are St. Olaf college from Minnesota and Clarkson University, New York. Cornell graduated their entire men’s team last year so they shouldn’t be much of a factor.

The women are defending National Champions but have had a tough year with illness and injury, losing all of their top 4 women from last season. Despite these setbacks they have bounced back enough that they are hoping for top three showing. The favorite for the women is UW’s rival year after year, St. Olaf. Clarkson also has a strong team as well as University of Maine Presque Isle.

WOW! Amazing job on the week of fundraising!

I have added all the $ from the Krispy Kreme, race and dinner. I know that this was an incredibly hard week for all of you and that no one should have to do everything in one week but I also want you to know that it was a huge success.

Thanks to everyone who put in the extra hours to get the donuts organized, get the donuts from Denver, man the tables and especially walk around to the offices.

Thanks to everyone who went door to door to businesses asking for raffle prizes, cooked noodles, buttered bread, made salad, helped with the races, sent in names for invitations, stamped and mailed the invitations, got your family's and siblings to come to the race and dinner, got your friends to come to the dinner, helped my parents load and unload and load and unload and the hundred other things you all did!

You all put your heart and soul into this and so far for the week we have raised $4,401.30! I say so far because so many people who got invitations in the mail have been sending in checks and I know I don't have them all yet so there could be more coming. It was an amazing feat of fundraising, there is a reason we are legendary in Club Sports and it's because you all work so hard!

YOU ROCK OUR WORLD!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Cowboy Chase Weekend

So I've just finished my first Cowboy Chase weekend and I've got to say it was a blast. Skiing on Saturday was real nice, new tracks, nice weather and don't forget the doughnuts at the end! I really liked the course as well, but I am one to favor a race with laps, it reminds me of my biathlon days. The dinner was way nice and it was great to see all the people from the community come to support us. It was nice to meet skiers' families as well. With the new snow that night, i thought the classic race was going to be a tough muscle fest, but the groomers did a great job with what occured and set up a nice track. It was a great weekend and i don't think I'll ever forget being called Nicholai by Mae's sister.

UW Ski Team Rocks!!!

Dick and I can't tell you how much we appreciated all your help for the Spaghetti Dinner. The noodles were perfectly cooked - the bread was awesome - the desserts were delectable - the salad was ..... well salad! We walked into the cafeteria and were greeted with everyone asking what they could do to help set up the buffet!! You rock!! Believe me, we don't take all the help and consideration for granted. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

If we don't see you again, best of luck at Nationals. Have fun and ski fast.

Dick and Ev

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Frustration!!

Another race weekend, adding to a growing frustration for classic skiing. It seems like all my weekends have started and ended in this same fashion. I'll finish the skate race feeling great, knowing that I skied to my potential. I stay confident that I can do the same the next day with the classic race, and repeatedly tell my self "This is it! This is the day you have your breakthrough classic race!!" This has not happened, and let's just say that my confidence and patience is wearing thin that this will happen.
I realize that a confidence issue is nothing compared to the adversities that some of my other teammates have had to deal with this year, and I'm not making excuses I'm mostly just venting my frustration. I don't feel my frustration to be ill-founded either, because I know that I can do better with classic than I am.
I really don't know what it is, I'll just be skiing in a classic race and I just feel like I'm not going as fast as I can, I KNOW that I am stronger than this!! I KNOW that I can be faster.
I've been trying many things to try to get this irritating monkey off of my back; I've tried different race strategies, different warmups, tempo changes, sleeping more before classic races, much more technique work on specifically classic, etc. The one thing which my sister's, and dad brought to my attention after watching my race today was that my breathing seemed a lot more labored to them today vs. yesterday. I got to thinking about it, and it really was. I've noticed that before as well I just didn't think anything of it and just figured it was all in my head.
So there could be light at the end of my tunnel. Needless to say I'll be a bit embarresed if all of this frustration is being caused by not breathing right. I sure hope that this could be the end of it, so that I can FINALLY be as confident with my classic as my skate.

Excess Mucus Anyone?

If you’re an avid skier, you probably know what it means to farmer blow a few times during a race. But when it turns into all the time along with a constant cough and numerous loogies being a-hawked, you might have a problem. Sound disgusting? Well, it is. I’m sure my teammates can attest to that. You see, I’ve been dealing with an obnoxiously annoying chronic cough and excess post-nasal drainage for a year and a half. And is it affecting my ski season? Let’s just say the more proper phrase would be nearly demolished.

The problem with this cough and post-nasal drainage is I have been fighting off chronic episodes of bronchitis and sinus infections due to it for what seems ages now. The sinus infections have been around for years, but now the bronchitis just in the last couple. Last ski season I managed to fend it off and complete a fairly healthy season. This year I battled a severe sinus infection that took two months of antibiotics to clear up, along with the bronchitis that accompanied it. And just when I think I’m on the road to recovery… things flare up again.

You might be thinking why haven’t the doctors figured out what’s causing all this? Good question. It’s rather depressing when you come into a doctor’s office and within 5 minutes of describing your case they stop you short in the middle of a sentence “You’re a doctor stumper aren’t you?” After numerous X-rays, CT scans, blood tests, among a boat load of other tests, one would hope they could figure it out or at least make you feel better!

So as this season has been a really rough one, it’s hard not to let it get to me. I’ve raced three races with the team this year despite getting the “Are you sure you feel healthy enough to race?” look that I’ve become accustomed to. Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that question anymore. I don’t know what “healthy enough” even is. Skiing is my passion, skiing is the thing that gets me excited and keeps me working hard, striving to always improve. Now I’m just striving to get healthy. If there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, I sure can’t see it yet.

These months, and years, have challenged and taught me a lot. Perseverance, hope, and how to know what my body is telling me are some of the big lessons. Patience still needs to be pounded into my head. I’ve been rather frustrated by illness, and I’m stubborn, so when I’m told by coaches, teammates, or my own body that I need to rest, I’m not always wanting to pay attention to it. And I have suffered the consequences. Thanks to some very knowledgeable coaches and lungs that speak for themselves, I know the importance of rest and really taking care of your body. And trust me I still have plenty of occurrences when I tell myself “I feel fine enough to race” when I really should not lie to myself. The saying goes “mind over matter.” Not true if you’re really sick. Your body always wins the battle.

Moral of the story: if you’re sick, short term or long, learn to listen to your body and don’t hesitate to pamper it like it needs to be. Even if it means resting for a day, or even months. Have patience, have hope, ask for a hug when you need one, and don’t settle with being relatively healthy. Look for a solution; I’m still looking for mine.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Krispy Kremes!

Katie has done an amazing job of organizing the Krispy Kreme sales for this week and has setup tables in the Union AND the Classroom building. In addition we'll be sending people all over campus delivering the donuts to offices.

Things are looking good and hopefully we'll be able to sell them. If you want some delivered to your office, whether on campus or not, please let us know anhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifd we'll swing them by. uwski@yahoo.com

Krispy Kremes are good, yummmmm.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cowboy Chase!

It's finally here! The weekend of the Cowboy Chase. While this is an difficult week/weekend for the coaches, the officers and the team it is also a great deal of fun and we bring in quite a bit of $ from the weekend.

We're hoping to raise about $3000 this year to help pay for travel to USCSA Nationals in Black Mountain, Maine. Whenever we travel to the east and have to fly it runs up the bills!

If you are a fan, alumni or supporter and you area in the are please check out the Cowboy Chase website, http://www.uwyo.edu/ski/CowboyChase.htm , and participate in any way you can. It's awesome fun AND you will be helping the team.

We'll see you out there!

University of New Mexico Invitational...

This was the final NCAA Division I race we compete in this season. It was the University of New Mexico Invitational and was held near Red River, New Mexico at Enchanted Forest Nordic Center. We have never done this race before and decided to add it to our schedule due to the fact that in the past we start to ski faster about the time we stop doing the really competitive races. We changed our home race so we could do this one and it really paid off. Almost every athlete that raced had their best percentage points for the season!

The first race was a 10km classic for the men and a 5km classic for the women.

The women had their best classic race of the season with three of them reaching the qualification mark of sub-30%, Gwynn Barrows, 24%, Liz Turner, 25% and Marie Cartwright, 27%. For Liz and Marie it was their first time in the top 30% for a classic race this season! Erin Hammer also improved her % back to 30% and Katie Turner finished with 31%. Gwynn, Liz and Marie also had their best placing of the season with 30, 32 and 33 respectively. The women beat Western State College by 2 points!

The men had a solid day lead by Brian Sebade who had an amazing day, bettering his % by 6 points, from 24% to 18%! Not to be outdone Jacob Peterson also skied a sub-20% race finishing just 15 seconds behind Brian and hitting 19% for the day. Nicholai Smith also had a great day just breaking the qualifying mark at 29%. The men are really starting to look strong and ski like we know they can. The improvements this week are what we were hoping for!

Saturday was a 5km skate race for everyone with the men starting the day. John Kirlin who was unable to race on Friday came back on Saturday to lead the Cowboys with a 18% race placing hime 34th. Jacob Peterson once again finished second for the team with 22% and Brian Sebade had his best skate race of the season with 24% and Nicholai Smith finished with 35%. This was the strongest showing of the season in a skate race by the men and is encouraging with Nationals only 3 weeks away!

The women competed next and continued their run of good skate races for the season. Gwynn tied her best place of the year with another 30th and got her best % of the year at 22%. Just 20 seconds behind her in 32nd place, 24% Marie Cartwright just edged Liz Turner in 33rd, 24% by 2 seconds! This is the type of pack skiing that really helps team placing at USCSA Nationals so it was exciting to see them that close. Erin Hammer, who had her tonsils out the first week in January, is finally starting to recover, placing a season best of 35th with 27%. It was a good finish since this was her last chance to qualify for USCSA Nationals by placing in the top 30%. Katie Turner, who qualified last week wasn’t feeling well but still managed a season best 32% in the skate race.

As difficult as these races are the UW athletes have been amazing, they get out there and competed and skied well! They are now looking forward to moving on to Division II competition at our home race this weekend and USCSA Nationals the first week in March.

Saturday and Sunday will be the home race for the UW Nordic and Saturday night is the dinner/raffle for the team. Information is on the website at: http://www.uwyo.edu/ski

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Crested Butte, Western State College Invitational

We traveled to Crested Butte for the Western State College Division I races. The conditions for both races were fierce with less than 10 degree temperatures and heavy snow. It made the racing extremely tough and we’re proud of the athletes that managed to push through both days!

Friday the men did a 10km interval start classic race and the women did a 5km interval start classic race. This season the men have been better at the classic technique and they didn’t disappoint on Friday. Three men broke into the top 30%, Joe Howdyshell 14%, 32nd place, John Kirlin 19%, 39th place and Brian Sebade 26% with Nicholai Smith just missing the top 30% at 30.95%! The women made huge improvements with the Turner twins, Katie 29.36% and Liz 29.98%, breaking into the top 30% for the first time this season! Gwynn Barrows continued her lead of the team with a 26% finish. Marie Cartwright tied her best classic race of the season with a 31% and Karyn Liebsch, Freshman Maple Grove, MN and Erin Hammer, Senior Lander, got through their first Division I race of the season with 33% and 34% respectively. It was a tough day for skiing but they all raced extremely hard and made improvements.

Saturday the conditions were the same, pounding snow and cold temperatures. Fresh snow is tough to race through and give individuals who start at the end of a race a huge advantage. Unfortunately most of our men started near the front so they were packing the trail for the others. Despite this we had some good finishes with Joe Howdyshell once again getting into the top 35 at 34 and with a great 16%. He was followed by a Post-Doc student, Grigory Kolesov at 23%, Brian Sebade 30% and Nicholai Smith 34%. The women have been competing well in the skate races and Saturday was no exception. Both Gwynn Barrows (35th)and Marie Cartwright (37th) finished in the top 25%, 22 and 24% respectively. This was Marie’s best race of the season, she just keeps getting stronger and stronger! Gwynn also had an extremely solid race, just a little slower than her best race despite feeling extremely tired from the start. The rest of the women competed well with Liz Turner (32%), Erin Hammer (34%) and Katie Turner (37%) rounding out the cowgirls.

It was a tough weekend and despite extremely difficult conditions there were several great races. On the whole the team is getting stronger as they start peaking for USCSA (Division II) Nationals in Black Mountain, Maine.

This weekend will be their last Division I race, the University of New Mexico invitational in Red River, NM. Friday is 5km women, 10km men classic and Saturday is a 5km freestyle for everyone.

The following weekend will be our home race, the Cowboy Chase. This happens on Saturday and Sunday and both races are open to the public. We also have a UW Nordic Team benefit raffle and dinner. Information can be found on our website at http://www.uwyo.edu/ski/CowboyChase.htm

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Breckenridge & Leadville Sprint!

This weekend we did qualifying races for USCSA. This means that we raced against Air Force and Colorado Mountain College. We did 2 races: 15km Freestyle race in Breckenridge, CO and 1.9km Classic Sprint race in Leadville, CO.

Both races went extremely well with UW winning the team title for both men and women in both races.

Saturday’s race was held at Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge, CO. In the 15km race on Saturday the men did well with Jacob Peterson skiing away from the field with a time of 50:00. He was followed by team mates Justin Kinner , 2nd 50:37 and John Kirlin, 3rd 50:57. The other UW men in the race were Michael Fitzgerald (5th), Nicholai Smith (6th), Brian Sebade (8th), Patrick Richards(9th) and Adam Kargas (10th) (you can find the full results online at: http://www.uwyo.edu/ski/results_2008/Gold_Run.htm

The women dominated taking the top 6 places in the race with Gwynn Barrows continuing her team dominance winning by over a minute in 1:00:25. Freshman Marie Cartwright was 2nd in 1:01:37 followed by Liz Turner, Karen Liebsch, Erin Hammer and Katie Turner.

Sundays race was a 1.9km classic sprint race and was held at Tennessee Pass Nordic Center, outside of Leadville, Co. The elevation there is over 11,000ft and was a challenge for some of the athletes but UW still managed to come out on top. The format for the race is one round of interval starts. After the results from this are posted the athletes are divided up into heats of 4-6 based upon their time. After the first round 5 of the top 6 men were from UW. The final round was dominated by Joe Howdyshell in a time that was 17 seconds ahead of second place. Joe is a UW graduate student in Kinesiology who trains and races with the UW Nordic team but has used his college eligibility. Jacob Peterson was a strong second with Nicholai Smith losing 3rd by 4 inches to Joe Dougherty from Air Force. Justin Kinner and Michael Fitzgerald completed the top heat of men, giving UW 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th and placing the team 5 points ahead of Air Force on the day. Results at: http://www.uwyo.edu/ski/results_2008/Leadville_Sprint.htm

The women’s race was also exciting with Gwynn Barrows just holding off a huge finish by the Turner twins. Gwynn finished 2 seconds in front of Katie Turner who beat her sister Liz in a photo finish. Freshman Marie Cartwright rounded out the UW representation in 4th, just ahead of two Air Force women. The UW women dominated their Air Force rivals 27 to 13.

It was a good weekend and great fun for our athletes to get a short break from NCAA Division I competition. It’s a wonderful and unique opportunity for our athletes to have the opportunity for Division I competition and race against the best skiers in the nation and then get to step back and race Division II where they compete extremely well. The best of all possible worlds!

This weekend UW Nordic will be back in action with the big dogs at the Western State College invitational in Crested Butte, Co on February 1 & 2. We’ve never raced there and we’re excited for the challenge of a new course. Friday will be an interval start classic race and Sunday a mass start freestyle race. Our athletes are getting stronger every week and we’re hoping for some huge improvements in % points this weekend.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Wrap-up of first 3 races...

I sent the following "article" to the UW News service and thought it might be a cool thing to put on the blog. I'll add some others later today.

Let me explain how we gauge ourselves in these big NCAA races. We figure percentage back from the winner. In this way we can tell if we are improving from race to race and from year to year. If an athletes is within 30% of the winners at an NCAA race they are automatically qualified for USCSA Nationals.

We have had two NCAA Division I race weekends, each with two races so four total races.

The first race was the Utah University January 4 & 5 and was held at Soldier Hollow, the site of the Nordic events for the 2002 Olympics. There were 10 teams there:
• University of Alaska Anchorage
• University of Colorado
• University of Denver
• Montana State University
• University of Nevada
• University of New Mexico
• University of Utah
• Western State College
• Whitman College
• University of Wyoming

At these races we are the only team that is a club team. All the other ones are full varsity teams.

The first race at Utah was a interval start classic style race. The women did 15km and the men did 20km. The men had an amazing day with John Kirlin, sophomore from Casper, leading the way with a 38th place, only 14% from the winner. He was followed by Jacob Peterson, 52 and 27%, sophomore from Lander, Brian Sebade, 55, senior from Lander and Nicholai Smith, Junior from Chugiak Alaska. The men had a great day and finished only a few points behind Whitman College and Western State College and the top two men were inside the top 30%. The women had a much harder day, the trails at Soldier Hollow are brutal and they took their toll on the women. Gwynn Barrows, sophomore from Laramie, finished as the top UW skier in 39th, 30% out, followed by Freshman Marie Catrwright, Lander and Senior Mae Peterson, Pinedale. The women still managed to beat Western State College by 3 points.

The second race was a freestyle mass start race. The women did 5km and the men did 15km. This was the day for the men to struggle. Only two UW men finished the race: Jacob Peterson, 58 (26%) and Brian Sebade, 61 (30%). Three men are counted in the scoring so they didn’t score as a team. The women had a great day though with Gwynn once again leading the pack in 40 (21% back), Marie in 43rd (24% back) and Mae in 45 (30% back) All three women managed to pre qualify for USCSA Nationals in the race and just squeaked by Western again by 1 point.

On January 19 & 20 there was a dual weekend. The elite racers did the University of Colorado invitational at the YMCA of the Rockies in Granby, CO and the competitive team racers did the Devil’s Thumb Pursuit, also in Granby, CO. This gave the two groups the chance to spend the time between races together.

The CU invite went extremely well with most of or athletes improving their % back. Saturday was the freestyle with the men doing a 10km skate race. The men were once again led by John Kirlin who placed 39 at 19% back. Jacob Peterson, 42 (20%), Brian Sebade, 47 (25%) and Nicholai Smith, 50 (36%). The women had an amazing showing with Gwynn Barrows placing 34 (23%) and Marie Cartwright only 4 seconds back in 35 (23%). Liz Turner, Junior Chugiak Alaska, joined the women for this race and started her season in 40th (31%) followed just 2 seconds back by Mae Peterson in 41st (31%). The women were able to once again beat Western State College by 5 points.

At the same time that the elite group was taking on the division I teams the competitive group was racing in the Rocky Mountain Conference Race (USCSA) in Devil’s Thumb. 4 men and 1 women did this race. Justin Kinner, Sophomore Casper, lead the the cowboy chase beating all the skiers from Air Force and Colorado Mountain College. He was closely followed by Michael Fitzgerald, 2nd , Freshman Laramie, Patrick Richards 4th , Junior Clear Creek, Coloraodo and Adam Kargas 7th , Freshman, Minnisota. Gina Shively was the only cowgirl but she put in a great performance to slide into 2nd behind Meg Heerdt from Air Force.

Sunday’s race was a classic race, 15km for the men and 10km for the women. The men skied very well lead once again by John Kirlin, 36th (20%), Jacob Peterson, 40 (21%) Brian Sebade, 42 (24%) and Nicholai Smith 47, (33%). The double weekend enabled two young skiers from the competitive team to try their hand at Division I competition and Justin Kinner, Sophomore Casper and Michael Fitzgerald, Freshman Laramie, made the most of it placing 45 (28%) and 48 (39%) respectively.

The women finally had a full contingent of 5 women and Gwynn lead the way again with 38 (27%) followed closely by an amazing performance by Mae Peterson, 40 (28%). Marie Catrwright 41st, Liz Turner 42nd and Katie Turner 43rd rounded out the cowgirl team which once again managed to beat Western State College by only 1 point!

The men’s team looks great this season, they are pumped and ready to rock! They are hoping to get revenge on Cornell who beat them by only 1 point for the National Title last season.

The defending National Champion women’s team is struggling a bit. Out of 12 possible racers 4 have had some kind of surgery, one is doing a study abroad and several have had lingering illnesses. Currently there are only 4 able to race who are eligible for Nationals. Despite this there is still some hope for some great finishes from these 4 women. What looked to be a great shot at defending their national title is fading with each surgery but they are looking strong for a top three finish and that would be an amazing recovery considering the hurdles they have faced this year.