STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Colorado's Ola Johansen had been waiting his entire career to put together a strong performance at the NCAA skiing national championships.
He finally did that on Wednesday, placing third in the men's giant slalom and helping the Buffaloes to a second-place spot after the first of four days of this event.
"It was a really good race and my first good performance in an NCAA race, so I'm really happy with my day and the whole team's performance was really good," the senior said. "I just tried to do what I've been doing the whole season."
Johansen earned first-team all-American honors for his finish, while teammates Max Luukko (seventh) and David Ketterer earned second-team honors after finishing in a tie for seventh at Howelsen Hill.
The Buffs weren't as strong in the women's giant slalom, but Tonje Trulsrud earned second-team all-American honors with a seventh-place finish. Nora Christiansen was 18th and Isabella Fidjeland was 21st.
In all, the Buffs racked up 130 points, and sit four points behind Vermont. Denver is a close third, with 129 points, and Utah is fourth with 103.
"I was actually very pleased with the guys' performance," CU coach Richard Rokos said. "They did above standard in placing all three in top seven. It was very encouraging.
"Tonje had a little bad luck and I think it is in her ability to win the race, so on the second run she gave up something. Nora and Bella, they are better slalom skiers, so their time will come."
Last month on the same hill, the men had just one top-10 finish in the giant slalom at the regionals.
"I think we did a good job today," Ketterer said. "It was solid, could have been better but considering our result on the same hill at regionals two weeks ago it was a good step, stepped it up for the championships. Three guys in the top seven, I think we can be happy with what we did today."
Dartmouth took the top two spots in the men's giant slalom, with Brian McLaughlin claiming the national title and Tanguy Nef placing second.
Denver's Amelia Smart was the champion in the women's giant slalom, while New Mexico's Katharine Irwin was second.
The championships resume Thursday with the Nordic classical events. The slalom races will take place Friday, with the Nordic freestyle races on Saturday.
At Steamboat Ski Resort (Mt. Werner)
Team scores— 1. Vermont 134; 2. Colorado 130; 3. Denver 129; 4. Utah 103; 5. Dartmouth 96 ½ ; 6. New Mexico 93; 7. Montana State 77; 8. Middlebury 75; 9. Alaska-Anchorage 40; 10. St. Michael's 36; 11. New Hampshire 27 ½ ; 12. Plymouth State 22; 13. Williams 17; 14. St. Lawrence 12; 15. Boston College 2; 16. Colby 2; 17. Bates 1.
Men's giant slalom — 1. Brian McLaughlin, Dart., 1:49.22; 2. Tanguy Nef, Dart., 1:49.41; 3. Ola Johansen, CU, 1:49.75; 4. Max Roeisland, UVM, 1:49.93; 5. Morten Bakke, MSU, 1:50.22; 6. Jeff Seymour, DU, 1:50.36; 7. David Ketterer, CU and Max Luukko, CU, 1:50.37; 9. Huston Philip, 1:50.38; 10. Sandy Vietze, UVM, 1:50.41.
Women's giant slalom — 1. Amelia Smart, DU, 1:53.21; 2. Katharine Irwin, UNM, 1:53.25; 3. Paula Moltzan, UVM 1:53.27; 4. Ann-Kathrin Breuning, Utaha and Caroline Bartlett, Midd., 1:53.37; 6. Stephanie Gartner, MSU, 1:53.51; 7. Tonje Trulsrud, CU, 1:53.56; 8. Tuva Norbye, DU, 1:53.62; 9. Francesca English, UVM, 1:53.63; 10. Kari Hole, MSU, 1:53.78. Other CU Finishers: 18. Nora Christiansen, 1:55.45; 21. Isabella Fidjeland, 1:56.04.