One cannot blame Laramie High School Nordic Ski Coach Rebecca Watson if she wants to bask in the glow of victory for a while.

For the first time in school history, the Laramie Plainsmen won the Nordic Skiing Team State Championship last weekend at the Happy Jack Recreation Area just east of town.

Laramie placed three skiers in the top eight Friday during the Freestyle or Skate race and followed that with four among the top eight placers in Saturday’s Classic race.

The Plainsmen finished with 125 teams points and won by 19 over runner-up Jackson. LHS overcame a three-point deficit after the first day of competition. Lander took third with 101 points, while Natrona was fourth at 87.

Laramie had placed second twice in the last five years, but had not been able to overcome Jackson or Lander. They accomplished both last Saturday.

Head coach Rebecca Watson visited with KOWB’s David Settle to describe how it happened and what it took to win the school’s first-ever Nordic skiing team state championship.

Senior Liam McInroy led the way in both races. He won his third Nordic skiing state title in last Saturday’s classic race with a time of 37:03.8. His margin of victory was 41.6 seconds. That was on the heels of a third place finish in Friday’s skate or freestyle race. McInroy talked about his title, the team crown and what the difference was this time.

In Friday’s action, senior Albert Steiner took fifth place, while teammate Sam Fay was eighth. Those two were also instrumental in Saturday’s classic race. Steiner took third, while Derk Lyford and Fay added seventh and eighth place finishes, respectively.

Steiner said, “With Liam and I having good races, and Sam getting in the top 10 the first day, that kind of showed the rest of the team we have a shot to do this. The second day we went in there with a lot of confidence. I think with Liam winning, and me getting third. Derk and Sam got seventh and eighth, that was just perfect. I think we just all came together that one race, which we all needed to do.”

The weekend wasn’t quite what the Laramie Lady Plainsmen had hoped for. They took fifth in the team standings with 51 points scored. Sophomore Abigail Whitman finished runner-up in both the skate and classic races to state champion Annabel Hagan of Jackson.

Jackson won the girls team title for the seventh consecutive year with 128 points. Runner-up Lander scored 85 with Natrona third at 72 and Kelly Walsh placed fourth with 52 points.

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