Long-time Colorado head coach Richard Rokos will lead the team into the NCAA Ski Championships for the final time this week, as the Buffaloes look to add to their decorated history.
On Wednesday, the NCAA championships will begin in New Hampshire, as Rokos and the Buffs take aim at the program’s 21st national title.
Wrapping up his 31st season as CU’s head coach, Rokos leads a CU team that is once again among the favorites for the title. He has led CU to eight national championships, most recently in 2015.
Utah, which has won two of the last three championships, is favored, while traditional power Denver will look to be a factor, as well. Vermont and host New Hampshire were the top two teams at the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association finals last month.
In the last 14 championships contested, CU is the only team to finish top four each time. The 2020 championship were canceled midway through the competition because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CU finished second to Utah at the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Skiing Association (RMISA) championships in February and second to the Utes in the RMISA regular season standings.
The NCAA championships will level the playing field a bit, however, as each full team can field only 12 skiers – three for each gender and discipline (alpine and Nordic).
CU is led by a pair of first-team All-RMISA skiers, Magnus Boee and Filip Forejtek.
Forejtek has been in the top six in all nine races that he’s finished this season, and he was named the RMISA men’s alpine MVP for the giant slalom.
Boee won RMISA titles in the classic and freestyle Nordic races and was named RMISA MVP for both disciplines. He has tied the CU record for men’s Nordic victories in a season, with eight.
In addition to Boee, the men’s Nordic team has been anchored by freshmen Oyvind Haugan and Will Koch. Haugan was second-team All-RMISA and has six top-five finishes this season, while Koch had three top-10s and two 11th-place finishes.
The CU women’s Nordic group – Weronika Kaleta, Anna-Maria Dietze and Ezra Smith – have combined for 20 top-10 finishes. Dietze and Smith were second-team All-RMISA.
Along with Forejtek on the men’s alpine team, Louis Fausa has five top-10 finishes. Senior Joey Young has had an injury-plagued season, but two race wins in his career.
The women’s alpine team is paced by Stef Fleckenstein, a junior who missed the first part of the season because of injury. She has four top-four finishes in the five races she’s completed this season and was named second-team All-RMISA.
Freshman Cassidy Gray won a giant slalom race this season, while sophomore Emma Hammergaard has five top-10 finishes.
CU Buffs skiing at NCAA Championships
LOCATION: Cannon Mountain in Francona, N.H. (alpine) and Jackson Nordic Center in Jackson, N.H. (Nordic).
SCHEDULE (all times MT): Giant slalom (Wednesday, 7:30 a.m.); Classic Nordic (Thursday, 8 a.m.); Slalom (Friday, 7:30 a.m.); Freestyle Nordic (Saturday, 8 a.m.).
BROADCAST: Online stream – NCAA.com; Live scoring – RMISASkiing.com.
CU COACH: Richard Rokos, 31st season
CU PARTICIPANTS: Alpine – Men: Louis Fausa, Fr.; Filip Forejtek, Jr.; Joey Young, Sr.; Women: Stef Fleckenstein, Jr.; Cassidy Gray, Fr.; Emma Hammergaard, So. Nordic – Men: Magnus Boee, So.; Oyvind Haugan, Fr.; Will Koch, Fr.; Women: Anna-Maria Dietze, So.; Weronika Kaleta, Fr.; Ezra Smith, Jr.
NOTES: CU is seeking its 21st national title. The Buffs have won eight championships under Rokos. … In addition to the eight titles, under Rokos the Buffs have had 43 individual NCAA champions and 279 All-Americans. … This is the 11th time the state of New Hampshire has hosted the championships. … There will be 17 teams competing at nationals, including eight fielding full 12-skier teams: Alaska-Anchorage, CU, Denver, Montana State, New Hampshire, St. Lawrence, Utah and Vermont. … While CU has 20 national titles to its credit, that is second to Denver (24). Utah has 13. Those three schools have combined for the last seven national titles and five of the last seven runner-up finishes. … Since 2008, Vermont (first in 2012, second in 2014 and 2019) is the only other school to break into the top two.