The CU ski team has placed second behind the University of Utah all season.
The Buffs have been runners-up to the Utes three times this year, as Utah won all five western meets, which has happened only four times since 1983. Saturday was no different, as the Buffs took second at the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association Championships. The Utes finished with 932 points while the Buffs had 862.5.
The competition also doubled as the NCAA West Regional. Colorado had a good showing, qualifying a full 12-skier squad for the NCAA Championships next month. The Buffs will try to win the national championship for the seventh time since head coach Richard Rokos took over 22 years ago. If they do, it will be the first back-to-back championship for the Buffs since 1998-1999.
CU senior Eliska Hajkova finished second in the classical race with a time of 1:01:52.4. Hajkova, last year’s national champion in the classical event, will look to defend her title next month.
In the men’s 20-kilometer classical race, freshman Rune Oedegaard recorded his third straight win and fifth overall, with a time of 1:02:03.0.Oedegaard also won in the interval start competition with a time of 25:30.6.
For the Buffs, the regional meet was more about improving seeds and qualifying skiers for the NCAA Championships than winning the title. At the midway point of the competition, it looked like CU would fall one skier short of qualifying a 12-person squad. Junior Nordic skier Mary Rose, however, came through on the final day.
Rose had to finish in the top eight in the women’s 15-kilometer classical race in order to qualify for the national championship. Until Sunday, she had not finished in the top 10 in any event in her collegiate career. Rose came through with a fifth place finish in 1:03:20:2, qualifying for nationals as the 17th and final cross country performer in the west.
Rose will join the other skiers as the Buffs try to win their 18th NCAA National Championship in school history. The coaches will officially announce the 12 skiers on Monday and start preparing for the championship on Wednesday. The four day event will be held from March 7 to 10 at Montana State University.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Scott Annis at Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org.