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  • Caleb Horsch

Colorado Triumphs: NCAA Recap

By: Caleb Horsch

Steamboat Springs, Colo. - The Eastern region met skiers from the West for the NCAA Championships in beautiful Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Over a foot of snow fell during the days leading up to racing, but a watered surface at Howelsen Hill and good grooming at Steamboat gave racers a solid surface.

Simen Strand (Saint Michael's) - Stephen R Cloutier

The Giant Slalom was first as the field battled the All Out! GS venue. Two courses were set for each run, one for the men and one for the women, which improved the conditions. The men were up first, and they tackled a straight set.

The west skiers impressed with University of Utah's own Mikkel Solbakken dropping the fastest time of the morning. In second place was Etienne Mazellier from the University of Colorado. The fastest east skier was Harrison Digangi from Colby, who sat in fifth, just three-tenths of a second off the leader. Right behind Digangi was Simen Strand from Saint Michael's, looking to grab another All-American honor. Three other east skiers sat inside the top 10 in Magnus Berge Styren (UVM), Isac Hedstroem (UNH), and Oscar Zimmer (Dartmouth).

The women had a more technical set than the men, with Bill Reichelt from UVM getting the set. The west women looked near dominant on the first run, especially Magdalena Luczak from CU, who led by six-tenths after run one. However, a few East skiers sat well in the mix of an All-American result. Meagan Olsen (Colby) was tenth on the opening run, and Olivia Holm (Dartmouth) was in 13th.

As the sun shone hard on the slope, the snow began to deteriorate. Hunter Brayton (UNH) took advantage of his early bib on run two to move up nine spots and end the day in 13th. Declan McCormack (UVM) barely missed an All-American result in 11th. A solid second run from Hedstroem had him lead the eastern region, just off the podium in fourth. Styren moved up to end the day in fifth place, and Strand held on to sixth place. Zimmer also added another All-American result in tenth.

On the women's side, no one could stop Luczak, who took the win by a commanding 1.18 seconds. The top eastern skier was Alexandra Cossette from Middlebury in 14th with Justine Clement and Olsen right behind her in 15th and 16th respectively.

Howelsen Hill

On Friday night, under the lights of Howelsen Hill and in front of a packed house, the Slalom race went off. A duo of Dartmouth skiers, looking to rebound from a disappointing (by their impressive standards) GS race, attacked the short hill. Allie Resnick, returning to home Colorado, snow skied to third, and Zoe Zimmerman skied to fourth on run one. Cydnie Timmerman (UVM) and Mika-Anne Reha (Middlebury) were well in touch in a tie for seventh place.

The men were up next, and Simen Strand (Saint Michael's) showed no signs of letting up after earning All-American honors in the GS. Strand sat in fourth after the first run. But, the east was led by Declan McCormack (UVM), who made it look easy and skied into second place.

As the fireworks went off in between runs, it was difficult to maintain focus. The clock was approaching ten, and some racers were visibly tired. That wasn't the case for Reha, who used the set from her coach, Abby Copeland, to earn All-American honors. Also finishing in the top 10 were Zimmerman and Resnick, who, although slipped on the second run, still earned valuable points for their side.

After the second run, Oscar Zimmer from Dartmouth sat in a distant 13th place, but the electric atmosphere at the finish appeared to fire him up. His second run gave him the lead for a dozen racers who followed him. In the end, he would lose to only Filip Walqvist (CU), who would claim another National Championship. Also finishing in the top 10 were Magnus Styren-Berge (UVM) and Strand.

Mika-Anne Reha (Middlebury) - Stephen R Cloutier

On the team side, a strong performance from the Nordic team, coupled with Zimmer's podium, led Dartmouth to fourth place. The University of Vermont finished in sixth place. The University of Colorado won its 21st national championship, breaking a four-year streak held by the University of Utah.


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