Category Archives: Skiing

Skiing Championships at the midway point: DU tangles with familiar foes

Tim Healy is a special guest columnist to LetsGoDU. Tim Studied Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management at DU and follows the ski team closely. As the 4-day championships hit the mid-point, here are Tim’s thoughts on this season’s NCAA ski championships. 

The Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association Championships came to a close Sunday, February 26th in Minturn, Colorado, the Colorado Buffalo’s won the team title by a razor-thin margin of 7.5 points over Denver. Utah was third and Montana State held third and fourth place. Continue reading Skiing Championships at the midway point: DU tangles with familiar foes

2017 NCAA Skiing Championship Preview

Photo courtesy

Tim Healy is a special guest columnist to LetsGoDU. Tim Studied Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management at DU and follows the ski team closely. As the NCAA championships begin today, here are Tim’s thoughts on DU’s proscpects. 

As the 2017 NCAA Skiing Championships begin today at Cannon Mountain, New Hampshire, one can only imagine how well our Pioneer’s will fare on the East Coast. As hard as it is to predict how a skier is going to on any particular day, I’m going to do my best.

The Pioneers are coming into this meet about as strong as ever this season. So, I am cautiously optimistic that the Pioneers will secure a second consecutive title over the next four days. But, it won’t be easy.

Let’s start with the Alpine team: On the women’s side, we have Monica Huebner, Tuva Norbe, and Andrea Komsic representing DU in the Giant Slalom (GS) and Slalom (SL) events. These are three very strong ladies who have been seeded in the top 10 for both the GS and the SL. They have been performing strong all season with consistent top 10 finishes and are primed to get the Pioneers a lot of points in the overall standings.

For the men, we have Alex Leever, Erik Read, and Tanner Farrow. I will say this might be our weakest aspect of the championship team. The men have been seeded 11-13 in the GS and 5,8,11 in the slalom, respectively. The real “wildcard” here is Erik Read. Erik has not been racing in a lot of the NCAA meets this season because he has been racing in the World Cup circuit for Canada (see Denver Post). This fact alone makes him one of the only, if not the only, racer in the championships who has been consistently racing World Cup races this season. He even represented Canada at the World Championships in Switzerland last month. It’s hard to say how Erik will do without really seeing him much this season. If he skis as strong as he does on the World Cup circuit, he should walk away with an individual title.

Now let’s shift over to the Nordic team. For the women, we have Taeler McCrerey, Linn Eriksen, and Sylvia Nordskar. If the ladies can continue the current up swing in their very strong performance at Regionals a couple of weeks ago, then we should see another individual title and lots of points for the overall title. The ladies are seeded kind of all over the place for both the 5k Classical and the 15k Freestyle, so you can’t really use that as a judgment of how they will do. But, as DU ski fans may remember, Junior Linn Erikson was DU’s cross country superstar who clinched the title in last year’s championship with a dominant win.

On the men’s side, the Pioneers have Moritz Madlener, Dag Frode Trolleboe, and Lars Hannah. These three guys might just be our strongest aspect of the 12 person championship team. They are seeded at the top of the field for both the 10k Classical and the 20k Freestyle events. These guys have been very strong the whole season. Unlike last season where the Nordic team caught the flu midway through the season and never seemed to fully recover.

My take: This team is strong. Alpine Head Coach Andy LeRoy told me just before they left on Sunday, “I am really looking forward to this next week in New Hampshire.  Our alpine team has put in a ton of work and looks great right now.  If we can ski strong and remain focused on executing our plan, there is no doubt in my mind we will return as champions.” The wildcard for the championship meet is the fact is in in New England, where the snow is a lot different than in the west (lots of very firm, icy conditions) and they are every changing. We will be fending off our usual foes in University of Colorado, University of Utah, and Montana State. However, since the championships are in the east this year, we could very well see a strong eastern team such as Vermont or Dartmouth emerge as a strong contender this year.

You can follow along with the action with the NCAA’s live stream at You can also follow the live timing at I will be also live tweeting as best I can, so follow me on twitter at @609Healy.

This is going to be a fun and exciting championships to watch. To close all I have to say is LET’S GO PIONEERS! LET’S BRING HOME #24!!

DU Ski Team follows a balancing act to achieve national success

Photo Courtesy of Denver Athletics.

Most Pioneer fans know that the University of Denver has won an incredible number of NCAA team championships. DU now ranks 12th out of all Division I NCAA universities with 31, trailing traditional athletic powerhouses like UCLA, Stanford, and Michigan. The Pioneers are currently tied with the University of Oregon. Continue reading DU Ski Team follows a balancing act to achieve national success

Puck Swami: Is the men’s soccer team making the 2016 College Cup DU’s greatest sporting achievement?


When Denver centerback  Kortne Ford (above/Photo by David Grooms) carved open the Clemson backline to convert Alex Underwood’s cross to score the game-winning goal in Dec.2’s NCAA Soccer Quarterfinal with a minute left in the game to book a first-ever DU berth in the College Cup, it set off a big celebration for every Pioneer fan.

I would argue that it may have been one of DU’s greatest collegiate sporting achievements of all time.  Here’s why: Continue reading Puck Swami: Is the men’s soccer team making the 2016 College Cup DU’s greatest sporting achievement?

PUCK SWAMI: This is the Golden Age of Denver Pioneer Sports — Right Now!

1911-murad-cardUniversity of Denver Murad College Series trading card, circa 1909 – from the personal collection of Puck Swami

Ponder this:

DU Hockey is unbeaten in its last eight games and just ascended to #1 in the country for the first time since 2010, coming off an NCAA Frozen Four berth in 2016.

DU Men’s Soccer is regular-season unbeaten for two years, something that hasn’t been done in D-I soccer in nearly 40 years by any team.  The Pios are now ranked in the top 5 in the country and start NCAA tournament play at home this weekend as the sixth overall seed out of the 48 teams in the tourney (and over 200 D-I teams overall playing the sport).

DU Men’s Lacrosse, coached by the greatest lacrosse coach of all time, starts up in a couple of months and will ranked as a top 5 team in the country.  Duke, North Carolina and Notre Dame are all coming to Denver this year for the greatest home schedule in DU History, all bathing in the afterglow of the 2015 NCAA Championship season.

DU Skiing starts up soon  — as the defending NCAA Champion for the 23rd time in history and THE dominant program in the history of the sport at the college level.

I could go on and on with even more excellent current DU sports, more hardware accomplishments and more national rankings, but for a little school in the Rockies with 5,500 undergrads that only restored all sports to Division I less than 20 years ago, we’re doing pretty damn well, thank you very much. In fact, in the 150 plus years that DU’s been around, our sports program, taken as a whole, HAS NEVER BEEN BETTER.

For those of us old farts who have been following Pioneer sports for 30 years or more, this is a very unique moment in time that is nothing short of an incredible, astonishing achievement.  We can remember well the dingy days of the 1980s — when our school was $12 million in debt, deferred maintenance topped $40 million, and DU was in danger of going under. Our campus was a muddy mess with no names on the buildings. Many of our DU teams of that era competed in obscurity against NAIA schools you’ve never heard of, playing on patchy fields and in 40 year old WWII surplus buildings that were once condemned. The very suggestion of being NCAA Division I in all sports would get you laughed at back then, rather than admired, as it is today.

Today, our campus sparkles amid gorgeous facilities, and we’re not only D-I in all sports, but DU is the best D-I school without football in the country for years now, and we’re punching so far above our weight as an athletic power that it boggles the mind. Our athletes also graduate at a higher rate than the entire student body (90%), have a higher GPA (3.3) than the all-student average, and (knock on wood) avoid the police blotter, too.

The point here is that we can’t take all this for granted, folks…

There may come a time (perhaps too soon) when the big football schools with the big budgets move on from playing ‘mid-majors’ like us.  Or when financial pressures may someday limit DU’s athletic ambitions. Or when people stop coming to college sports events because there are just too many other things competing for people’s time and attention, which I already covered in another column here.

It’s time we get out to watch these great DU teams now, while we can ALL enjoy this Golden Age of DU Sports…and bring everyone you know!

Puck Swami is the Internet moniker of a long-time DU fan and alumnus. He shares his views periodically here at 

Clutch Performances Highlight Big Pioneer Athletics Weekend

They had ice in their veins.

This past weekend Denver Pioneer athletes were all about clutch performances. Some performances were obvious while others may have run under the radar. Continue reading Clutch Performances Highlight Big Pioneer Athletics Weekend

Youthful Nordic Team Delivers Pioneers 23rd Ski Team Title, 31st Overall

Steamboat Springs, Colorado – Going into the morning with a miniscule lead at nationals with two freshman, three sophomores, one junior and no seniors, the Denver Pioneers  men’s and women’s XC classical squads could have collapsed under the pressure of high expectations. Instead, DU skiers summoned all their skill and determination to win their record 23rd NCAA National Ski Team Championship, DU’s 31st NCAA team title.

The men built a commanding 45 point margin after the first race of the day. Then, DU sophomore Linn Eriksen in the women’s 15k punished 2nd place University of Utah and the rest of the field from start to finish. She entered the finishing stadium loop all alone, 17 seconds in front, to all but seal the team victory for DU. In total, the women’s nordic team extended DU’s final winning margin to 76 points. Denver finished first overall in the team standings with 567.5 points, ahead of the University of Colorado (491.5) and the University of Utah (485).

DU’s 23rd championship extends the Pioneers lead as the NCAA’s most successful ski program. As the host of this year’s NCAA Skiing championships , CU remains stuck in second with 20 national ski team championships.

DU was tied with the University of Florida with the 10th most overall NCAA titles but now stands alone in 10th with 31 titles. DU has more championships titles than many other local and national athletic powerhouses programs such as CU, Notre Dame, the Ohio State University, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and the University of Oregon.