Tim Healy is a regular contributor to LetsGoDU on collegiate skiing
Today’s NCAA skiing championships centered on the men’s 10k and women’s 5K Nordic Classic at the Jackson Nordic Center in Jackson, N.H. DU’s main rivals from the west had a big day and DU’s hopes for a 25th NCAA Team Championship melted, along with the snow.
The men’s Nordic Classic started with warm conditions, 46 degrees and sunny with many participants in t-shirts. Skiing in this stuff is like skating in oatmeal and the hilly terrain added to the difficulty. CU put the hammer down in the event with a 1st, 7th and 8th place finish in a display of depth. DU’s Bernard Flaschberger finished 6th, Borgar Norrud finished 16th and Ole Marius Kirkeng finished 20th.
The women’s race was two hours later when conditions were even worse, 50 degrees +, for their 5k race. Denver did well in the race with two top-10 finishes. Hannah Ray finished 9th, Vera Norli 10th and Emma Larsson 31st. Unfortunately, the Utah women’s team tore up the course claiming 1st, 2nd and 3rd. While Denver was good, the Utes were great.
At the end of the day, the NCAA Team Championship has quickly narrowed to Utah and Colorado as we suspected heading into the week. Denver is mired in 5th place. But hey, the Pios added three All-Americans today!
There are still additional All-American titles and races to win for DU tomorrow in the slalom. We often take individual titles for granted but many of the NCAA competitors are World Cup and Olympic athletes so this is a big deal. I’d also like to recognize all the DU seniors on the ski team but especially two seniors who will be in action tomorrow for a final time.
I will have my eyes on Amelia Smart, one of the greatest skiers/athletes in DU’s history. A two-time NCAA National Champion in slalom and giant slalom along with being a four-time All-Americans (3 in slalom, 1 in giant slalom). What a career!
Senior Tobias Kogler is completing his collegiate career with an NCAA National Championship in giant slalom and a four-time All-American (3 giant slalom, 1 slalom). Tobias is sure to give it his all in his final event in Crimson & Gold.
These two athletes are certain to be inducted into DU Athletic Sports Hall of Fame someday and go down as some of the greatest athletes in the history of Denver athletics. And, they can add yet another chapter to their story on Friday.
As always, keep your tips up and Go Pioneers!
Photo: Courtesy of Denver Pioneers