The second day can be sweeter for skiiers.
The CU ski team moved up from sixth to second place in team standings the second day of NCAA Skiing Championships Thursday, with 351 points. The Buffs trail just the University of Denver, who continues to lead the championships with 420 points.
All six CU competitors in the classic cross-country race finished in the top 20, contributing to the incredible jump the Buffs made in the team standings.
On the men’s side, senior Matt Gelso took the crown as the NCAA classic 10-kilometer champion, with a time of 29 minutes and 25.5 seconds. Senior Vegard Kjoelhamar placed fourth in the race with a time of 29:54.5, and junior Jesper Ostensen finished 20th with a time of 30:49.8.
Gelso is just the second Buff to win the classic race at nationals and earned first-team All-America honors for the first time since his freshman year.
Gelso said he is very pleased that he won this race.
“This was a goal of mine that I made at the end of last year since this is my last year eligible to ski for NCAA,” Gelso said. “I succeeded in that and I have a chance to win another one so I’m pretty excited.”
The women’s side faired just as well in the 5-kilometer classic race. Freshman Joanne Reid took fourth place with a time of 17 minutes and 9.9 seconds while sophomore Eliska Hajkova placed three spots below her at 17:17.4. Junior Alexa Turzian finished 19th with a time of 18:10.4.
Reid claimed the best finish by a CU freshman in the classic race at the NCAA’s since 2006 and it enables her to earn first-team All-America status.
After the race she said that she wasn’t trying to accomplish anything like she did on Thursday.
“I wasn’t really thinking about place, I just went out there to try my best, and do what I could for my team,” Reid said in a news release.
CU Nordic coach Bruce Cranmer said he was pleasantly surprised by Reid’s feat.
“I always have high expectations,” Cranmer said in a news release. “I knew Joanne had the ability to be there, but in a classic race I was thinking top 10, but top four, I was super psyched about that.”
Gelso said both the men’s and women’s teams did well, even if it wasn’t some of the skiers’ best races.
“Some people didn’t quite have the days that they wanted, but I definitely think they’re staying positive and they can have good races on Saturday,” Gelso said.
CU head coach Richard Rokos said both teams gave important performances that have affected the entire team.
“The whole Nordic performance gives the team a second chance,” Rokos said in a news release. “I think we’re in the hunt.”
On Friday, the Alpine skiers will return to the slopes in slalom while the cross-country skiers will hopefully ski for a national championship in freestyle on the final day of competition Saturday.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kayla Cornett at email@example.com.