Photo: University of Denver
Author: Tim Healy
As the DU ski team diligently prepares for this weekend’s National Championships in Steamboat Springs, most eyes at the University of Denver have been focused on a surging hockey team and a dominant men’s lacrosse team. Even the men’s basketball team stole some of the spotlight this week with a close loss in the Summit League Semifinals.
But, DU’s ski team may have the best chance of all DU programs to win an NCAA title this year.
DU will be going to the NCAA Nationals with a full contingent of skiers (12), both Alpine (6) and Nordic (6). DU is deep in the alpine disciplines (downhill, slalom, and giant slalom) and will need top efforts on the nordic side (XC disciplines) to win the NCAA all-around title.
Why not take a Friday afternoon off and be a part of history! DU is offering a watch party for the Friday Night slalom events: Ghost Ranch, 56 7th Street, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487. $25 per person includes Marnos Custom Catering, beverages and video streaming coverage of the NCAA Championships. Cash bar available. The party starts at 4:00 with the women’s slalom at 6:15 and the men’s slalom at 7:30.
FREE parking available within walking distance to NCAA night slalom spectator area at Howelsen Hill. REGISTER HERE
The NCAA Championships rotate to different regions of the country every year so this is a unique one-of-a-kind event for DU fans to support our Pioneers locally as they go for championship number 23!
LetsGoDU predictions for this year’s talented squad:
- Look for Kristine Haugen to continue her strong season with at least one title
- Monica Huebner will most likely win the slalom title
- Taylor Shriffin will have a break-out race and continue his great season
- The Alpine team is extremely strong and able to repeat as champions (They won last year’s alpine section of 2015 NCAA Championships)
- DU’s very young nordic team is very healthy this year and poised to add a couple of individual titles and a potential team title.
- Another National All-Around Team Championship (#23)
Who to watch for DU? Here are some skier profiles:
DU’s Alpine Nationals Team
Erik Read (Calgary, Alberta),
- 2 Slalom wins this season, 2 additional top-10 finishes
- 2 Giant Slalom (GS) wins, consistent top-10 finishes
Taylor Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.)
- Older brother to World Cup racer Mikaela Shiffirn
- 3 top-5 slalom finishes
- Multiple top-5 GS finishes
Sebastian Brigovic (Rijeka, Croatia)
- Consistent top-15 slalom finisher
- Consistent top-10 finisher in GS
Kristine Haugen (Lommedalen, Norway)
- Won NCAA titles in 2013 (Slalom and GS, 1st DU skier to win both titles in same year) & 2014 (GS, 1st DU skier to repeat as GS champion)
- Finished in top-5 in slalom in all races this season w/ one win
- Top-5 finisher in GS this season
Tuva Norbye (Oslo, Norway)
- Finished in top-5 for all slalom races she raced in this season
- Finished top-10 in all GS races this season
Monica Huebner (Garmisch-Partenkrichen)
- Won 2015 NCAA slalom title, took 2nd in GS
- Finished top-10 in all slalom races this season
- Finished top-10 in all GS races this season, except one.
DU’s Nordic Nationals Team
Moritz Madlener (Sulzberg, Bavaria, Germany)
- Consistent top-10 finishes this season, with 2 Classical & 1 Freestyle wins
- Swept the CU Invitational earlier this season at same venue/course for NCAA Championships..
Dag Frode Trolleboe (Oslo, Norway)
- Consistent top-15 finishes this season
Lars Hannah (Steamboat Springs, Colo.)
- 2015 US Junior Nationals Champion
- Top Ranked Junior in the nation last season
Linn Eriksen (Oslo, Norway)
- Finished 1st or 2nd in every race she competed in this season, except one.
- Entering NCAA Championships ranked 1st in the RMISA conference in nordic
Taeler McCrerey (Frisco, Colo.)
- Consistent top-15 finisher this season
- 2014 high school Colorado state champion
- 2015 Juniors All-American
Aja Starkey (Bozeman, Mont.)
- Top-20 finisher in all races this season.
Good luck and GO Pioneers!