Buffs shoot for 19th National Championship this season
With chilly weather on the way and snow already falling in the mountains, the CU ski team is set go for the season after winning 18 National Championships in the past.
With only one new member, expectations are high for this year’s veteran team. Coming off a third place finish at last year’s NCAA Championships, the Buffs come into this season with something to prove.
Senior captain Kit Richmond, a Nordic skier, expressed his disappointment with the team’s finish this past March.
“Last year we had a few people, including myself, who didn’t race as fast as we should have or could have at the NCAA’s,” said Richmond, a business finance major. “We have a lot of talent – we have a lot of depth, but we have to perform well at the right time.”
The team, which is coed and made up of alpine and nordic skiers, recently began training under the supervision of Richard Rokos, who is entering his 18th year as the team’s head coach. Rokos has produced five NCAA Championships and 130 All-American student-athletes in his tenure at CU.
“This year is exceptionally exciting for me because everyone is healthy, everyone is exceptionally strong — this team is mentally and physically strong,” Rokos said. “The team has come together better than any team in the past couple of years. There’s no animosity, no friction.”
Rokos stressed that the season wouldn’t necessarily be a disappointment if the team doesn’t win a National Championship, but he said that anything other than first place would be considered “not meeting our highest goal.”
CU’s home facility is the Eldora Mountain Resort, which is only about a 30-minute drive from campus. During the ski season, the team practices daily from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., or in the afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00, with one day off per week.
“Everyone is in really good shape, everyone is super strong, and I think we’re all really prepared to have really good season,” said senior captain Rachel Roosevelt.
The season gets underway Jan. 5 at the Colorado Invitational in Steamboat Springs. For Roosevelt, this will be the start of her final year of competitive skiing.
“Since this is my last year – I started when I was eight years old – I just want to enjoy it and obviously bring home the 2008 championship,” Roosevelt said.
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