Skiing Championships at the midway point: DU tangles with familiar foes

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 4-day championships hit the mid-point, here are Tim’s thoughts on this season’s NCAA ski championships. 

The Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association Championships came to a close Sunday, February 26th in Minturn, Colorado, the Colorado Buffalo’s won the team title by a razor-thin margin of 7.5 points over Denver. Utah was third and Montana State held third and fourth place.

Just two weeks later, it looks like old home week in New Hampshire as the western foes dominated the rest of the field at the NCAA’s. Denver sits in second place with 265 points, trailing the Utah Utes with 301.5. The pesky Buffs are hot on DU’s heels with 240 points and Montana state checks in with 177 points. And the east coast powers? Looks like they will have a short drive home to discuss what happened.

Thursday, DU racked up 132 points in classical cross country. Slalom takes place on Friday and Freestyle on Saturday.

So, what are the Pioneers prospects for the next two days?

At the turn, the Pioneers currently sit in a solid 2nd place following a strong performance from women’s alpine on day 1 and men’s Nordic on day 2. After very warm and sloppy conditions in the first couple of days of competition, there is some colder weather and snow in the forecast today for the Slalom competition at Cannon Mountain Ski Area. This should make for a better race all around.

For today’s Slalom races, after a strong Giant Slalom performance on Wednesday, expect the women to continue the strong showing. Senior Monica Huebner will be racing in her final collegiate race, so we should see her go all out and just attack the course and go hard. Sophmore Tuva Norbye finished 4th and freshman Andrea Komsic finished 5th in the GS and will be looking to find the podium today. For the men, expect Erik Read to go hard to avenge his 5th place finish on Wednesday to lead the men’s team to go hard and attack the slalom. Senior Alex Leever will be going “balls-out” in his final college race. I think if everyone can just attack the course and not hold back, we will see some great results from the Pioneers.

For Saturday’s Nordic finale, the men will be looking to continue their strong performances. Saturday’s races are the 20k Freestyle Mass Start for the men and 15k Freestyle Mass Start for the women. The mass start is a favorite of the Pioneers because you can use your teammates to set the pace. In the Regionals a couple of weeks ago, the women were able to use this team aspect to take charge of the race and finish atop the podium. Expect the same to happen on Saturday.

Even though DU currently 36.5 points behind 1st place Utah, the Pios have a strong chance to cut into the lead today and take it over on Saturday. With the colder weather coming in, expect some fast races and a close finish to these championships.

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.

And of course, GO Pioneers – Win #XXIV!