The Buffs traveled to Vermont this week as they competed in the 60th annual NCAA Championship and contended well as a team in each race. They finished in first place and brought home a championship in the men’s 10-kilometer race.
After the first day of competition, the Buffs had fared well in their first set of races. The team finished in third place with 175.5 points behind defending champion Vermont University’s 227 and Denver University’s 210.5.
Freshman Brooke Wales took second place in the giant slalom with a 2:05.93 time after DU’s Kristine Haugen finished only a second ahead of her, earning a first-team All-America honors in the process. Freshman Thea Grosvold came in at tenth with 2:08.05 followed by fellow freshman Jessica Honkonen, who finished 16th at 2:08.33.
The three freshmen improved their seeds after the first race as Wales moved up to 5th, Honkonen moved up to 13th and Grosvold tied at 15th place. Wales tied 1991 skier Andreja Rojs with the best finish by a woman at CU in the first NCAA race of her college career.
The men had similar success in their giant slalom as freshman Henrik Gunnarsson and junior Andreas Haug both tied for 12th with a time of 2:03.97. With this finish, Haug advanced to a 23 seed whereas Gunnarsson moved up to the 20th spot.
The Buffs moved into second place on day two of the competition but couldn’t overcome Vermont, who extended its lead to 389 total points. By the end of the day, the Buffs posted 368.5 and held an 18.5-point lead over third-place Utah, who finished with 350 points overall.
Sophomore Rune Oedegaard finished first in the men’s 10K classic at 26:00.20 and earned his first major championship victory of his college career. This marked the fourth time in school history that a Buffalo skier won a classical race in the NCAA.
Despite Oedegaard’s win, the Buffs had 91 points in the men’s team race but fell behind Alaska-Anchorage, who earned 108 points.
Senior Joanne Reid carried the women’s team with her fourth place finish at 15:44.20 in the 5K classical race. Freshman Maria Nordstrom followed in sixth place with a 16:03.30 time and senior Eliska Hajkova came in at 16th with a 16:24.50 time.
In the third day of the competition, the Buffs held on to their second place position but fell farther back from Vermont in the scoring. After the first six races of eight, Vermont led with 564 points and Colorado trailed with 510.
The Buffs dominated in the last day of the competition, thanks to an outstanding performance by the women in the 15K race and Oedegaard in the men’s 20K. For the women, Reid won with 27 seconds to spare before teammate Hajkova placed second behind her. Oedegaard finished second in the men’s race, losing by only 0.06 of a second.
The team overcame a 54-point deficit from the day before and ran away with their 19th NCAA title and their 7th since the sport went co-ed.
Contact CU Independent staff writer Alissa Noe at email@example.com.
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