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Olympic Sports

March 11th 

… Fortius, Altius, Citius … 

Buffs finish second at NCAA ski championships to conclude a trying season

From the Daily Camera … It hardly was an easy season for the Colorado ski program.

Yet that didn’t stop the Buffaloes from reaching their usual heights on the national stage.

The Buffs completed a trying season on Saturday by finishing second at the NCAA championships. After leading the four-day competition through the first two days, CU ultimately finished just 34.5 points behind Utah, which won its fourth consecutive national championship and its 16th overall.

The Buffs outpaced state rival Denver, which finished third, by 75 points.

The season began with the abrupt firing of former coach Andy LeRoy after just one season on the job in place of Colorado legend Richard Rokos. It ended with four top-10 finishes in the final event on Saturday, the Nordic 20K classic.

“It was the closest that we ever been in past couple of years to Utah,” interim head coach/Nordic coach Jana Weinberger said. “We needed something very special to win, that did not happen, but for this team to get second place, that’s nothing to be ashamed of or hang our heads about. We always want to win, that’s our goal, and if a couple of different things would have happened, we could have won. Yesterday, slalom, anything can happen. There was some unfortunate things that happened, but they also happened to Utah.  You can’t say could have, would have, but I’m happy with this team’s performance this week.”

Hanna Abrahamsson led the way for the Buffs on Saturday, finishing second in the women’s 20K classic with a time of 1 hour, 23.9 seconds, crossing the line 19.6 seconds behind Utah’s Novie McCabe. CU’s Weronika Kaleta placed ninth (1:03:05.4), while Anna-Marie Dietze finished 11th, missing the top 10 by just two-tenths of a second.

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March 10th

… Fortius, Altius, Citius … 

CU ski team in the hunt for its 21st national championship with one day of competition remaining

From … LAKE PLACID, N.Y.— Legendary coach Richard Rokos always considered slalom “the great equalizer.”  Consider things equalized.  With 75 percent of the 70th Annual NCAA Ski Championships now complete, the Colorado Buffaloes Ski Team sits in second place, just one-and-a-half points behind leader Utah and 10 points up on Denver with one day of competition remaining after slalom races Friday here at Whiteface Mountain.

On a rollercoaster of a day where each of the top three teams probably feel like they missed an opportunity to take hold of the championship, especially the Buffs and Utes, it will now come down to Saturday’s 20K classic races to determine the National Champion.

Entering the day, the Buffs held a 16.5 lead on Utah and 49 point lead on Utah and exiting the day the three teams are within 12 points with Utah holding the slimmest of advantages with 358 points to Colorado’s 356.6 and Denver’s 346.5.  There is then over a 100-point cushion to fourth place Montana State (243) as the three western rivals battle it out.

The first roller coaster moment came in the men’s race when Filip Forejtek, Wednesday’s GS champion, straddled a gate within sight of the finish line.  After hiking, he finished last in the first run and had his intermediate times held he would’ve finished in the top three.   Forejtek did rebound to have the fastest time his second and final collegiate run.  Jacob Dilling finished 15th and Louis Fausa 19th after sitting in eighth in the first run, to give the Buffs 30 points in the race.  Utah scored 48 points, mostly from Wilhelm Normannseth’s second place to give the Utes a 1.5 lead after the race.

The Utes had a decided advantage over the Buffs in the women’s race in terms of starting bibs.  Utah held bibs 3, 6 and 34 and CU held bibs 20, 22 and 28.  Utah’s Michelle Kerven had a similar experience to Forejtek being one of the race favorites she had to hike and finished last.  She also put down the fastest second run.

Emma Hammergaard was the star of the day, starting 20th she moved up to 13th in the first run and then another five spots to earn her second All-America honor of the week in eight place after having the third-fastest second run.  Elena Exenberger finished 17th and Kaitlyn Harsch 21st.  With Kerven not scoring, Utah was led by race winner Madison Hoffman and they also picked up a 24th place.  In the end, the two teams scored 47 points each and the Utes 1.5 point lead held.  Denver was bolstered by second, third and 12th place finish to score 90 points in the race and close the gap on the Buffs and Utes.

It all comes down to this.  Not many thought the Buffs could seriously compete for a title this week, and all the Buffs have done to date is competed for put themselves in position to win a national championship.  You never know what to expect in the slalom races, but now that the dust has settled, it all comes down to Saturday.  Looking back at Nordic action on Thursday, the Buffs and Utes scored within seven points of each other, and both teams probably feel like they can ski better.  Denver’s men’s team is also extremely strong, as well, although they are one woman short of a full team, but they are still fully in the mix, as well.

The women get things started on Saturday at 8 a.m. MT (10 a.m. local) with a mass start in their 20K classic race.  The men follow two hours later at 10 a.m. MT (Noon local).


One Reply to “CU Olympic Sports”

  1. My room mate 1990-1991 was Tony Stauntiner skiing for coach RR.. Complete bad ass helping win the National Championship.. What a time and great coach.. Taught them all how to fish 😎..

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