Courtesy photo / CUBuffs.com
Couresty photo / CUBuffs.com
STOWE, Vt. — Colorado owns the record for the largest final day comeback in the history of the NCAA skiing championships.
To win a national championship this year, the Buffaloes are going to have to break that record.
CU had a good day on Friday in the Nordic classical races and jumped to second place in the team standings, but Utah was dominant for the day and takes a commanding lead into Saturday’s final events.
Utah has 426.5 points, 65.5 ahead of the second-place Buffs, who have 361 points. Dartmouth (359) and Vermont (350) are not far behind heading into Saturday’s slalom races.
CU made up a 54-point deficit to win the title in 2013.
“Miracles happen on the last day of the championship,” CU head coach Richard Rokos said. “That’s the beauty of championships; between alpine and Nordic we are fighting different teams. Sometimes one team has it all together, like Utah this year. But usually it goes between schools who only compete in one or maybe they’re stronger in one. The last day will be exciting.”
In Friday’s Nordic classical races at Trapp Family Lodge, the Buffs claimed four more All-American honors.
CU was led by sophomore Hedda Baangman, making her first appearance at the NCAA Championships. She placed third in the women’s 15K classical race, posting a time of 47 minutes, 15.2 seconds and earning first-team All-American honors.
Baangman, from Oestersund, Sweden, had placed top two in each of her previous five classical races this season.
“I’m super happy that I made it on the podium,” Baangman said. “I’m not in my top shape, so that’s not great, but I’m really happy with third place. We had a great day as a team, so much better than Wednesday. I’m happy with my race; I think it was a solid race.”
Senior Christina Rolandsen, in her final collegiate race, placed 10th and earned second-team All-American honors. She closes her career as a five-time All-American and placed top 10 in 11 of her 12 races this season.
Junior Anne Siri Lervik finished 13th overall. She was a first-team All-American in this event a year ago.
In the men’s 20K classical race, CU’s Alvar Alev and Erik Dengerud both had leads during the second half of the competition and finished in the top 10.
Alev, a senior, finished fourth, in 56:01.2, to claim first-team All-American honors. He was sixth in Wednesday’s freestyle race and closes his career as a three-time All-American.
Alev skied with the front pack throughout the race and had a narrow lead at the 17K split.
“I guess it was a pretty exciting race; there were about 10 of us together until the last lap,” he said. “Anything can happen in a mass start race; it was up in the air, a pole can break or somebody can crash. I guess fourth is OK. I’ve done better in classic this season, but I’ll take it.”
Dengerud, a freshman who won the freestyle national title on Wednesday, had the lead at the 13K split, but fell 17 seconds off the pace by the 15K split. He finished in 56:51.9 to place ninth and earn second-team All-American honors.
Sondre Bollum placed 14th for the Buffs in his second NCAA appearance.
New Mexico’s Ricardo Izquierdo-Bernier won a close battle for the men’s 20K title, while Dartmouth’s Katharine Ogden cruised to the win in the women’s 15K. Ogden claimed her third national title. She swept both Nordic titles in 2018.
Boulder High School graduate Lauren Jortberg, a junior at Dartmouth, finished sixth to claim second-team All-American honors. It was Jortberg’s third career All-American honor and her best finish in the NCAA championships.
CU now turns its attention to the slalom races on Saturday.
“Any thinking about slalom is scary,” Rokos said. “Even today in training, people were all over the place. It was icy, it’s a demanding hill, there is a lot of terrain in it. It was good training, it’s more demanding than anything we’ve seen. It’s a course we don’t have in Colorado, but it’s challenging for everybody, so we’ll see how it comes out.”
NCAA Skiing Championships
Top 10 team scores (through 6 of 8 events) — 1. Utah 426.5; 2. Colorado 361; 3. Dartmouth 359; 4. Vermont 350; 5. Denver 272; 6. New Mexico 214; 7. Northern Michigan 206; 8. Alaska-Anchorage 155; 9. Middlebury 122; 10. Montana State 107.5
Nordic classical results, Friday
Men (20K) — 1. Ricardo Izquierdo-Bernier, New Mexico, 55:50.6; 2. Sigurd Roenning, Alaska-Anchorage, 55:56.5; 3. Maximillian Bie, Utah, 55:57.7; 4. Alvar Alev, Colorado, 56:01.2; 5. Ola Jordheim, Utah, 56:02.4. Other CU results: 9. Erik Dengerud, 56.51.9; 14. Sondre Bollum, 57.28.6.
Women (15K) — 1. Katharine Ogden, Dartmouth, 46:25.7; 2. Julia Richter, Utah, 46:49.1; 3. Hedda Baangman, Colorado, 47:15.2; 4. Guro Jordheim, Utah, 47:19.8; 5. Anna Bizyukova, Vermont, 48:07.7; Other CU results: 10. Christina Rolandsen, 48:28.0; 13. Anne Siri Lervik, 49:14.4.