Colorado's freshman David Ketterer claimed the men's giant slalom title on Wednesday at the NCAA Championship in Franconia, N.H., the first Buff to win in five years and the 10th overall to be an NCAA champion in the event.
He also became the ninth Buffalo to earn a title in his first-ever NCAA Championship race (the sixth in an Alpine race, all giant slaloms). Adam Zika was the last to do both in the 2012 event when he opened with a GS victory.
The Buffaloes sit in fifth place through two of the eight events. For the second straight year, Montana State owns the first day lead with 149 points, followed by Utah (136), defending champion Denver (133), Dartmouth ( 107) and then the Buffs (92).
Ketterer got to the top of the podium with a terrific second run time of 1 minute and 5.33 seconds, which was the fastest in the field the second time down Cannon Mountain's Barons Run by almost seven-tenths of a second. He earned first-team All-America honors with the win in which he posted a two-run time of 2:13.51, overtaking the leader after the morning run, Utah's Sam DuPratt, by .11 of a second.
"The first run I was starting bib time, I was a little bit unlucky with the draw with the last number of my seed," Ketterer said. "I think I did a good job in the upper part of the course and the lower part was not my best skiing, so I was sitting in sixth position (after the first run), but only six-tenths of a second out so I thought, 'Okay, go for it.' I knew that the second run might be better for me, the snow was a little harder, so I just thought full attack and see how far I can get."
Ketterer had won four slalom races in the first four meets of the season and alpine qualifiers, but he has come on strong to end the year in the giant slalom. He repeated off his GS win at regionals out east on Wednesday.
"I think consistency in his runs and performance," head coach Richard Rokos said is the key to his improvement in the GS over the course of the winter. "Having two guys around like Max (Luukko) and Ola (Johansen), and actually Bobby Moyer too, coming to training it is almost guaranteed to help improvement because those guys are fighting back-and-forth for best time in the training runs and David benefited out of it, no question."
Sophomore Max Luukko earned second-team All-America honors with a ninth place finish in 2:15.22; he was 12th after the morning run but had a solid time (1:06.44) the second time down the hill.
Sophomore Nora Christensen led the CU women's effort Wednesday, placing 21st last winter in the giant slalom, she improved six spots off of that effort with a 15th place showing with a two-run time of 2:20.39.
Skiing in her first NCAA Championship and just her third collegiate race overall, freshman Isabella Fidjeland worked through some first-time nerves to post an impressive finish. Coming in as the 29th seed in the GS, she finished 17th in 2:21.49, earning an important 14 points for the Buffaloes, but most impressive was her second run time of 1:07.85 — the fastest run in the women's field.
NCAA Skiing Championship
Team scores (2 of 8 events) — 1. Montana State 149; 2. Utah 136; 3. Denver 133; 4. Dartmouth 107; 5. Colorado 92; 6. New Mexico 74½; 7. Vermont 49; 8. Alaska-Anchorage 45; 9. Middlebury; 10. Colby 37½; 11. New Hampshire 36; 12. Williams 27; 13. Bates 16; 14. St. Michaels 15; 15. Plymouth State 13; 16. Colby Sawyer 10.
Women's Giant Slalom (25 finishers) — 1. Benedictine Lyche, MSU, 2:17.58; 2. Stephanie Gartner, MSU, 2:17.71; 3. Roni Remme, Utah, 2:18.07; 4. Tuva Norbye, DU, 2:18.56; 5. Andrea Komsic, DU, 2:18.64; 6. Hannah Hunsaker, Williams, 2:18.88; 7. Monica Huebner, DU, 2:19.22; 8. Chloe Fausa, Utah, 2:19.61; 9. Karoline Myklebust, UNM, 2:19.76; 10 (tie). Mardene Haskell, Colby, and Katharine Irwin, UNM, 2:20.08. CU Finishers: 15. Nora Christensen, 2:20.39; 17. Isabella Fidjeland, 2:21.49 (CU DNF: Tonje Trulsrud, second run).
Men's Giant Slalom (30 finishers) — 1. David Ketterer, CU, 2:13.51; 2. Sam DuPratt, Utah, 2:13.62; 3. Brian McLaughlin, Dart., 2:13.65; 4. Max Roeisland, UVM, 2:13.94; 5. Erik Read, DU, 2:14.01; 6. Rob Cone, 2:14.10; 7. Addison Dvoracek, MSU, 2:14.73; 8. Joergen Brath, Utah, 2:15.14; 9. Max Luukko, CU, 2:15.22; 10. Garret Driller, MSU, 2:15.50. Other CU Skier: Ola Johansen (DNF, first run).