Tim Healy is a regular contributor to LetsGoDU on collegiate skiing.
Denver Skiing exited Day 2 of the NCAA championships in a two-horse race in Bozeman, Montana. Denver fell behind the University of Utah following today’s men’s and women’s freestyle events. With two days remaining and several of Denver’s strongest events remaining, the NCAA pulled the plug with a nationwide cancellation of NCAA events due to the Coronavirus.
What a sad ending to an event that looked so promising for Denver.
In the women’s 5k Freestyle race, DU’s Eviliina Piippo (13:21) garnered yet another national championship for DU. Unfortunately, her teammates were far behind with Vera Norli in 28th at 15:15 and Emma Larsson at 38th with a time of 15:30.
— Denver Skiing (@DU_Skiing) March 12, 2020
On the men’s side, Denver scored a bronze when Bernhard Flaschberger finished third in the 10K freestyle at 23:56.2. His teammates were several minutes behind with Borgar Norrud in 19th (25:18) and Ole Marius Kirkeng in 33rd with a time of 26:22.
This is the heartbreaking end for the DU ski team. While Utah had assumed the team lead (293-261), DU was heading into some of their best events, Alpine slalom and Nordic classical. The nearest competitor was Middlebury, nearly 60 points behind.
We exited the shortened two-day event with a handful of National Champions and All-Americans so that is a great accomplishment that was hard earned by our student-athletes. I know the skiers are proud of their individual accomplishments but they wanted to bring Denver another national championship.
This pretty much concludes college sports for this school year and it could not have been more bittersweet for our ski team. Shoutout to head coach Andy Leroy and Toni Riponen who had the Alpine and Nordic teams ready to go. At least the team got to celebrate winning the RMISA Regional Ski title in this same spot before they returned for nationals.
Like many DU fans, I was excited about winning #25. Now it is on to next season.
Photo: Courtesy of Denver Athletics