BOZEMAN, Mont. - The University of Colorado ski team did everything it could, but came up short in its bid to repeat as NCAA champs. Vermont was crowned the new national champs as Colorado finished third on Saturday.
Vermont cruised to its first NCAA title since 1994 and sixth overall, finishing things up with five top five performances in the slalom and with an 832 point total. Utah held on to second, barely, with 671 points, edging CU which finished one point back.
The Buffs were in fourth heading into the day, but passed Dartmouth (fourth, 590).
"It was a four days, and we came full circle," CU head coach Richard Rokos said. "There were ups and downs, we went back and forth, we dealt with illness and not being at full strength. But everyone put in an honest amount of work and pushed hard."
Erika Ghent again led a solid showing by the CU women in the alpine events, garnering first-team All-America honors with a third place finish in the slalom. Her two-run time of 1:35.61 trailed only two Vermont skiers, including the winner, Kate Ryley, who won in 1:35.16. Ghent, a senior, was fourth in Thursday's giant slalom, also earning first-team honors, and thus concludes her Colorado career as a five-time All-American, including three first-team performances.
"I guess I didn't know what to expect going into the slalom, but I'm so happy it ended the way it did," Ghent said. "Coming into today, we had the attitude that we didn't have anything to lose. Unfortunately that's how it was, it's a little bittersweet. I'm happy with my individual result, but it's tough having the team end up third."
Senior Carolina Nordh was in a rare three-way tie with Alaska's Alex Parker and Harvard's Rebecca Nadler for seventh, all posting two-run times of 1:36.22.
On the men's side freshman Adam Zika was blazing down the Bridger Bowl hill on his first run until he skidded a bit off course, costing him anywhere from three-to-five seconds; but he rebounded with the fourth fastest time for the second run, moving from 24th into 10th place in a two-run time of 1:52.03, earning second-team All-America honors.
"I had a really good (first) run until a mistake right before the finish," Zika said. "I slowed down a lot. The whole team kept fighting, and we all improved a lot in the second run. It was good. The experience, it's a great atmosphere skiing for a school, with my teammates, I love it."
The Buffs will return eight skiers who participated here for the 2013 season.
Team Scores (Final, 8 events) -- 1. Vermont 832; 2. Utah 671; 3. Colorado 670; 4. Dartmouth 590; 5. Alaska-Anchorage 519; 6. Denver 505.5; 7. Montana State 502.5; 8. New Mexico 487.5; 9. Middlebury 359; 10. New Hampshire 296; 11. Northern Michigan 227; 12. Williams 146; 13. Bates 139.5; 14. St. Lawrence 121; 15. Harvard 101; 16. Colby 86; 17. Alaska-Fairbanks 81; 18. St. Scholastica 75; 19. St. Michael's 33; 20. Colby-Sawyer 32; 21. Michigan Tech 22.
Women's Slalom (34 collegiate finishers) -- 1. Kate Ryley, UVM, 1:35.17; 2. Kristina Riis-Johannessen, UVM, 1:35.34; 3. Erika Ghent, CU, 1:35.62; 4. Sterling Grant, DU, 1:35.75; 5. Elli Terweil, UVM, 1:35.99; 6. Stefanie Demetz, UNM, 1:36.00; 7 (tie). Carolina Nordh, CU, Alexandra Parker, UAA and Rebecca Nadler, Harvard, 1:36.22; 10. Anna Kocken, Utah, 1:36.30. Other CU Finisher: 11. Katie Hartman, 1:36.34.
Men's Slalom (32 collegiate finishers) --1. Espen Lysdahl, DU, 1:48.28; 2. Tim Kelley, UVM, 1:48.52; 3. Christopher Acosta, UNM, 1:49.95; 4. Torjus Krogdahl, Utah, 1:50.77; 5. Hig Roberts, Midd., 1:50.82; 6. Andrew McNealus, Midd., 1:50.88; 7. Jonathon Nordbotten, UVM, 1:51.25; 8. Sean Alexander, UAA, 1:51.30; 9. Andreas Adde, UAA, 1:51.60; 10. Adam Zika, CU, 1:52.03. Other CU Finishers: 13. Andreas Haug, 1:52.45; 28. Max Lamb, 1:59.65.