Day 3 of the NCAA Championships featured men’s and women’s slalom at Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort. DU needed a big day to close the gap on Utah and Colorado. It was a mixed bag again for the Pioneers as the Denver women’s side dominated while the DU men struggled. Still, DU shut down the gap to only 11.5 points of leader, Utah.
On the men’s side, the top two finishers for Denver were Simon Fournier in 14th and Jack Bowers in 22nd while Cooper Cornelius had a DNF. Denver could have taken the team lead with a better performance in this discipline but only 26 points in the men’s event placed DU in 9th place in the slalom event, trailing the CU Buffalos and Utah Utes.
The DU women’s slalom trio did their part, finishing first in team slalom points with 90. CU and Utah could only muster 47 points each. Junior Nora Brand finished in 2nd place, trailing only Utah’s Madison Hoffman. DU’s freshman star Sara Rask finished on the podium in 3rd place. Mia Hunt had a solid pair of runs and finished in 12 position for the Pioneers.
Overall, if DU can’t make up the point gap tomorrow, we may look back at today as a missed opportunity where DU’s rock-solid men’s slalom group had a tough day. That is the challenging thing about the NCAA Skiing Championships – it all comes down to one day and a couple of runs to determine All-Americans and team championships.
Surprisingly, DU (346.5) trails Utah by only 11.5 points and CU by 10 points heading into Day 4 with the Nordic Classic events on Saturday. Denver still has a chance but it will take a dominant performance by the DU men while the Denver women must hold their own against Utah and Colorado. I believe the DU men’s side can deliver big time. The question remains can the DU women hold off both CU and a powerful Utah Nordic Team at the Olympic Sports Complex tomorrow?
I can’t wait to see how this all turns out.
As always, Go Pioneers!