2017 NCAA Skiing Championship Preview

Photo courtesy fasterskier.com

Tim Healy is a special guest columnist to LetsGoDU. Tim Studied Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management at DU and follows the ski team closely. As the NCAA championships begin today, here are Tim’s thoughts on DU’s proscpects. 

As the 2017 NCAA Skiing Championships begin today at Cannon Mountain, New Hampshire, one can only imagine how well our Pioneer’s will fare on the East Coast. As hard as it is to predict how a skier is going to on any particular day, I’m going to do my best.

The Pioneers are coming into this meet about as strong as ever this season. So, I am cautiously optimistic that the Pioneers will secure a second consecutive title over the next four days. But, it won’t be easy.

Let’s start with the Alpine team: On the women’s side, we have Monica Huebner, Tuva Norbe, and Andrea Komsic representing DU in the Giant Slalom (GS) and Slalom (SL) events. These are three very strong ladies who have been seeded in the top 10 for both the GS and the SL. They have been performing strong all season with consistent top 10 finishes and are primed to get the Pioneers a lot of points in the overall standings.

For the men, we have Alex Leever, Erik Read, and Tanner Farrow. I will say this might be our weakest aspect of the championship team. The men have been seeded 11-13 in the GS and 5,8,11 in the slalom, respectively. The real “wildcard” here is Erik Read. Erik has not been racing in a lot of the NCAA meets this season because he has been racing in the World Cup circuit for Canada (see Denver Post). This fact alone makes him one of the only, if not the only, racer in the championships who has been consistently racing World Cup races this season. He even represented Canada at the World Championships in Switzerland last month. It’s hard to say how Erik will do without really seeing him much this season. If he skis as strong as he does on the World Cup circuit, he should walk away with an individual title.

Now let’s shift over to the Nordic team. For the women, we have Taeler McCrerey, Linn Eriksen, and Sylvia Nordskar. If the ladies can continue the current up swing in their very strong performance at Regionals a couple of weeks ago, then we should see another individual title and lots of points for the overall title. The ladies are seeded kind of all over the place for both the 5k Classical and the 15k Freestyle, so you can’t really use that as a judgment of how they will do. But, as DU ski fans may remember, Junior Linn Erikson was DU’s cross country superstar who clinched the title in last year’s championship with a dominant win.

On the men’s side, the Pioneers have Moritz Madlener, Dag Frode Trolleboe, and Lars Hannah. These three guys might just be our strongest aspect of the 12 person championship team. They are seeded at the top of the field for both the 10k Classical and the 20k Freestyle events. These guys have been very strong the whole season. Unlike last season where the Nordic team caught the flu midway through the season and never seemed to fully recover.

My take: This team is strong. Alpine Head Coach Andy LeRoy told me just before they left on Sunday, “I am really looking forward to this next week in New Hampshire.  Our alpine team has put in a ton of work and looks great right now.  If we can ski strong and remain focused on executing our plan, there is no doubt in my mind we will return as champions.” The wildcard for the championship meet is the fact is in in New England, where the snow is a lot different than in the west (lots of very firm, icy conditions) and they are every changing. We will be fending off our usual foes in University of Colorado, University of Utah, and Montana State. However, since the championships are in the east this year, we could very well see a strong eastern team such as Vermont or Dartmouth emerge as a strong contender this year.

You can follow along with the action with the NCAA’s live stream at ww.ncaa.com/liveschedule. You can also follow the live timing at http://barttiming.com/eisa/results17/ncaa17.htm. I will be also live tweeting as best I can, so follow me on twitter at @609Healy.

This is going to be a fun and exciting championships to watch. To close all I have to say is LET’S GO PIONEERS! LET’S BRING HOME #24!!