As his balance began to betray him earlier this month at the NCAA ski championships, the immediate thought that rushed through the Boulder native's head was something along the lines of, "Oh no, not again."
One year earlier, Havlick suffered a fall during the 20K classic race that forced the Nordic specialist to settle for a third-place finish. Havlick suffered a very similar setback during this year's race, but this time he refused to let it ruin his championship dreams.
The junior on the University of Utah ski team recovered and went on to win the national title in the 20K classic, helping to lead the Utes to a second-place finish in the team standings, edging third-place Colorado by one point.
Havlick also posted a second-place finish in the 10K freestyle race.
"This year, I crashed on the second lap but I was able to get up quickly," said Havlick, a 2008 graduate of Boulder High. "Last year, after I went down I spent so much energy trying to catch up that I just wore down. I tried to take away what I could from last year and learn from the things I could do better. I really think I benefited from that."
Havlick has enjoyed a stellar career at Utah after honing his skills with the Boulder Nordic Junior Racing Team. As a freshman in 2010, Havlick qualified for the NCAA championships and placed eighth in the 10K classic. He was tabbed as Ski Racing Magazine's Nordic Collegiate Skier of the Year as a sophomore after recording four first-place finishes during the regular season and a pair of top-10 finishes at the NCAA championships.
Havlick took the next step this season by winning his first national championship.
"I think at the championships, and not to sound overconfident or cocky, but we really had a sense of self-confidence that he would put down a solid race," Utah coach Kevin Sweeney said. "We kind of knew he'd be going for the title. With his commitment and work ethic, he was just smart about it. He's been unwavering in that and it's not a surprise to see him have this success."
Lured to Utah by family ties -- Havlick's father is a graduate of Utah, and his brother, Ian, preceded him on the Utes' ski team -- the Boulder native already is looking forward to defending his crown next year.
"It's really great to accomplish this goal," Havlick said. "It's definitely a big motivator and a boost of confidence for this summer and heading into next year."
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