The day for the NCAA Championship classic races could not have turned out better - with a sunny high of 35º and scattered puffy clouds everyone at Trapp's Family Lodge had grins from ear to ear today, and never hesitated to check out the blue sky when the buzzing drone came around again. The maple trees were tapped and ready to collect sugary sap for the upcoming maple season as the 2019 Nordic season came to an end. Women kicked off the finale 15k and the men followed for their 20k classic mass start race.
First place for the NCAA 15k women's race was Dartmouth skier Katharine Ogden, who won by an official 24s however she made sure to grab the Dartmouth College flag and casually stride across the finish line smiling wide. Ogden knew she held a considerable lead against the other skiers behind her and focused on "holding on for dear life" and truly "wan't thinking about anything else." Ogden was greatly appreciative of this "special moment" because her parents from Colorado and her entire team were there to congratulate her when she came around to the last hill.
In second place was Julia Richter from University of Utah with a time of 46:49. Richter won yesterday's race and was so happy to be one of the three girls from Utah to travel to Vermont and compete in NCAAs. Richter loved her strong team atmosphere and support and said, "it just made me faster today." Even though traveling can be taxing and tiring, Richter found all the commotion to be mostly exciting and fun.
Hedda Baangman earned third for University of Colorado, Boulder with Guro Jordheim from University of Utah just 4 seconds behind her. Anna Bizyukova placed first for eastern teams in fifth in 48:07. Then came Lauren Jortberg (DAR) in 6th with Karianne More representing University of Utah one second behind Jortberg in 7th. Jasmi Joensuu (University of Colorado, Denver) earned 8th place today after earning an amazing 2nd place yesterday. 5 seconds behind was Lina Sutro from UVM in 9th place. Christina Rolandsen (Colorado University, Boulder) finished in 48:28 for 10th place.
The men's race started with a bang; the gun shot and all 40 men strided into their 20k race. Ricardo earned first place for University of New Mexico with time of 55:50. Izquierdo-Bernier noted his strategy resided in how he skied the first part of the race to ensure he had enough energy. Izquierdo-Bernier also said he "drafted off of the lead pack to conserve energy" then made his move to break out of the pack later on in the race.
Sigurd Roenning came in 2nd place for University of Alaska, Anchorage just 6 seconds after Izquierdo-Bernier. In third was Maximilian Bie for University of Utah one second behind Roenning. Alvar Johannes Alev came in 4th for University of Colorado, Boulder in 56:01, but Ola Jordheim (University of Utah) was one second behind and earned 5th place. Next came in Ian Torchia (6th) for University of New Mexico and teammate Zak Ketterson right behind him in 7th.
Ben Ogden skied well for University of Vermont and placed 8th today. Ogden tried to remain right behind the tails of the lead pack of skiers to ensure a fast pace, however after 4 or 5k Ogden said, "I looked back and I was the only eastern skier in the lead group I worried I had made a mistake." However this decision to stick with these top skiers ensured Ogden a top ten spot in today's NCAA race. Ogden said it was "nerve-wracking" to be the single eastern skier, but he knew it was the last race on the home course and he received "so much love from the fans" which rebuilt his confidence in his spot.
Erik Olsvik Dengerud earned 9th for University of Colorado, Boulder in 56:51and 5 seconds behind him was Middlebury senior Lewis Nottonson.
Congratulations to EVERY single skier for qualifying for the NCAA Championships and competing on both beautiful March days in Stowe, Vermont. Also THANK YOU to the Trapp's Family Lodge for hosting the 2019 NCAA Championships and also to all of those who played a role in making the events go smoothly; parking volunteers, course volunteers, coaches, family, friends and fans included. What a great way to end the 2019 season, time to count the days down until the next!