Denver Finishes Third at NCAA Skiing Championships

Tim Healy is a regular contributor to LetsGoDU on collegiate skiing

Nordic Freestyle concluded the final day of the NCAA Skiing Championships at Jackson Nordic Center. While DU did not win their 25th National Team Championship, they did come home with one individual national championship and nine All-American designations. Denver finished the NCAA’s in 3rd place for the overall NCAA Team Championship, trailing Champion Utah and Colorado for the title. Denver was the top alpine scoring team in the championships.

Women’s freestyle started the day and Utah dominated once again with a 1st and 3rd place finish to build a 46.5 point lead on Colorado. DU’s Hanna Ray finished 16th, Vera Norli 27th and Emma Larsson in 27th. The course appeared surprisingly good for the 10:00 am EST start.

On the men’s 20k freestyle, the Denver men’s Nordic squad responded with one of their best efforts. DU’s Bernard Flaschberger had a strong day and scored an 8th place finish with Borgar Norrud in 9th to earn two more All-American designations for Denver. Junior Ole Marius Kirkeng finished 16th for the Pioneers. Utah and Colorado each placed two skiers in the top ten so Utah was able to hold off the charging Buffalo’s who took 1st and 6th in freestyle. That gave Utah the team championship, their 14th.

Team Standings:

1.Utah 554
2.Colorado 522 ½
3.Denver 442
4.Alaska Anchorage 411
5.Montana State  385 ½

I want to remind readers that NCAA skiing has changed over the years with these same athletes also competing this season on Olympic Development Squads, National Teams, World Cup squads, and World Championship events as well as college skiing. These are, in many cases, literally world-class athletes. While I hoped DU would finish even better in the Nordic classical discipline, despite injuries and COVID-19 impacts, the effort by our skiers over the past four days was solid.

Looking back at this season’s NCAA Championships, the highlight is  Amelia Smart’s performance as she became one of DU’s greatest athletes, earning her third national championship and All-American designation to cap her incredible collegiate career. We have a solid core of future stars with sophomore Reece Bell, sophomore Eleri Smart, junior Simon Fournier, and sophomore Bernard Flaschberger.

In a COVID year, I am just glad that our skiers got to get out on the slopes and tracks in crimson and gold and do what they like to do. We are in good shape with Andy LeRoy running our alpine program and Toni Roponen guiding our Nordic skiers. Sure, we want to win the team championship every year but there is a lot of young talent on the DU squad and the future is bright.

Go DU and see you on the slopes!

Photo courtesy of Denver Athletics

7 thoughts on “Denver Finishes Third at NCAA Skiing Championships”

  1. Nice to see DU get a couple of individual NCAA titles this year, but its clear that poor finishes in the Nordic area hurt the Pios.

    Go get ’em next year…

  2. Mixed feelings on whether this year should officially count. But hey, competition occurred. Congrats to Amelia. What an amazing athlete. Incredible what she has accomplished at DU. I don’t know enough about how this crazy year affected our nordic team. That said, there is no reason why all six of DU’s nordic skiers shouldn’t be finishing in the top 10 of their races, every single year. Best NCAA ski program in history, and we have skiers finishing in the 20’s, sometimes high 20s? Bizarre. I remember the days when DU dominated nordic, finishing 1,2,3 on the men’s side. If Leroy and the nordic coach can’t improve the nordic team, that reflects very poorly on them. This year is kind of a throwaway, and DUs nordic coach is pretty new. But DU needs to get their shit together on the nordic side next year and beyond.

    Congrats to all our skiers, though, for competing in what must have been a very difficult year.

  3. Some excellent results. Maybe we win next year if Nordic improves. Dunker agrees, Amelia Smart is a soon to be hall of fame inductee. Wishing skiers the best in their professional skiing careers. Dr. Ski, what kind of money can a Amelia caliber skier earn professionally?

    1. The money mostly comes from sponsorship deals, so we will have to see. But luckily Amelia has some strong World Cup finishes under her belt.

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