We have a star on our hands with freshman Sara Rask. She finished second in giant slalom while smoking the course with the fastest second run. Nora Brand finished 7th and Mia Hunt a distant 25th. It was a missed opportunity for the men with Cooper Cornelius in 10th and Simon Fournier in 13th with Jack Bower in 20th. We missed a higher team scoring opportunity in men’s GS, a real DU strength. I was hoping for a Fournier or Cornelius finish in a top 5. This puts pressure on our Nordic teams, especially women, to finish high in the points.
Day 2 (Thursday) was men’s and women’s Nordic Freestyle.
The DU men’s freestyle 10k collected 83 points but women’s freestyle 5k, our weakest event, only collected 30 points. Denver (230.5 pts) fell behind Utah (263) and first place Colorado (279.5). DU men had a fantastic day with Bernhard Flashberger in 3rd and Andreas Kirkeng in 4th. Elijah Weenig scored points for DU as well in 13th. Only Alaska-Fairbanks outscored DU. DU’s 5k women’s Nordic freestyle could not crack the top 10 spots. Hannah Ray finished in 12th while Selma Anderson, Denver’s other competitor in the event, finished 20th.
I expect DU to do well Friday in men’s and women’s slalom but DU has a lot of ground to make up on Colorado and Utah. The NCAA Championships conclude with Nordic classical on Saturday.
Denver has a significant hole to overcome over the next two days. Let’s hope the Pioneers can rally in the slalom disciplines Friday and close the points gap to Colorado and Utah.
As always, Go Pios!
One thought on “Mixed Results for DU at Halfway Point of NCAA Skiing Championships”
Tim’s an optimistic guy and he’s putting a very nice home-fan spin on it, but there is almost no chance that DU will win an NCAA Skiing title this year. There is just not enough talent or depth to do it, as DU only qualified 11 skiers for Lake Placid this year, down from the usual 12.
Fact is, the women’s Nordic program at DU is a shell of what it once was, and it has been really substandard for some years now. Even when DU has strong alpine or strong men’s nordic performances, the women’s Nordic skiers are generally laggards.
In a sport where only about five programs (DU, CU, Utah, Vermont, Dartmouth) out of 20+ that compete have enough qualified skiers to contend for an NCAA title, it’s a shame that the Pios have been off the top level of the podium since 2018.