JACKSON, N.H. – Academics have kept Magnus Boee extremely busy this week, and that’s fine with him.
On Thursday, however, the Colorado sophomore took a break from his studies long enough to win the men’s 10K classic Nordic race at the NCAA skiing championships at Jackson Nordic Center.
“I just focused on having fun and, honestly, I’ve been so busy with school,” Boee said. “I’m kind of happy I have been because it keeps my mind off the race. … I prefer when things have been working so well that I just like letting my body remember what I’ve been doing all this year, and let it happen; don’t over-think it.”
Boee’s championship added to what has been one of the best individual seasons in CU history. It also helped the Buffaloes move up a spot in the team standings.
At the midpoint of the nationals, the Buffaloes are in second place, with 252.5 points. Utah, which won the last team title in 2019, is in first with 319 points. Montana State (213.5), Alaska Anchorage (200) and Denver (193) round out the top five.
The nationals resume Friday with the alpine skiers in the slalom. The Nordic freestyle races will take place on Saturday.
“Anything can happen in slalom, so we’re still hoping for the best and we’re still going to work hard to win the championship and get closer to Utah, if not pass them,” CU head Nordic coach Jana Weinberger said.
“Magnus looked very strong. He’s been looking very strong the whole season, so I think it would have been a little bit of a disappointment if he didn’t win.”
A sophomore from Oslo, Norway, Boee finished the 10K course in 26 minutes, 17.7 seconds – 12.8 seconds ahead of Utah’s Luke Jager. CU’s Will Koch (seventh, 26:51.2) and Oyvind Haugan (eighth, 27:13.4) joined Boee in earning All-American honors.
“I’d say the conditions were the toughest one yet so far this season,” Boee said. “Although we were in sea level racing, I felt like that was in altitude. It was super hard.
“I feel like I was able to find a good pace the entire way. I never went too fast or too slow. It was a pretty steady, even race. I think I used my energy well throughout the entire race, so I’m pretty happy about how I executed.”
Boee won for the ninth time in 11 races this season and won his fifth consecutive classic race. He established new CU records for overall men’s Nordic wins in a season (nine) and men’s classic wins in a season (five).
A 2018 Olympian for South Korea, Boee was a second-team All-American in the freestyle race a year ago. He has already moved into a tie for seventh in CU history for career wins (12) in any discipline, but said he will wait until Saturday to get too excited. He still has the freestyle race to ski before leaving New Hampshire.
“That’s exactly what I’m thinking,” he said. “When we’re done on Saturday, whichever way it goes, I’m going to celebrate and have a fun time, but until then, we’re just halfway there. I’m just gonna still put my head down and get my school done and just the normal. Nothing special yet.”
In the women’s 5K classic race, the Buffs were led by Weronika Kaleta’s 13th-place finish (17:09.7). Ezra Smith finished 14th (17:15.9), while Anna-Maria Dietze was tied for 20th (17:37.1).
Weinberger said she had hoped for better results by the women, but they skied as they have all season, so it wasn’t a disappointment.
“I think our women are a little better in skate (freestyle), but I hope that they will do better on Saturday,” Weinberger said.
Despite a solid day on the course Thursday, the Buffs couldn’t overcome favored Utah. The Utes, fourth coming into the day, scored 211 points in Thursday’s races to surge to the top of the standings. CU had 133.5 points on the day.
Utah finished 1-2-3 in the women’s classic race, led by national champion Sydney Palmer-Leger.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM STANDINGS (Through 4 of 8 Races): 1. Utah 319; 2. Colorado 252.5; 3. Montana State 213.5; 4. Alaska Anchorage 200; 5. Denver 193; 6. Vermont 151; 7. Westminster 137; 8. Northern Michigan 100; 9. New Hampshire 96; 10. Plymouth State 77; 11. Alaska Fairbanks 75; 12. Boston College 54; 13. St. Lawrence 40; 14. Michigan Tech 39; 15. St. Scholastica 25; 16. Colby 21; 17. Clarkson 0.
MEN’S 10K CLASSIC (39 collegiate finishers)—1. Magnus Boee, CU, 26:17.7; 2. Luke Jager, UU, 26:30.5; 3. Samuel Hendry, UU, 26:43.0; 4. Espen Persen, UAA, 26:44.7; 5. Bjorn Riksaasen, UU, 26:48.0; 6. Bernhard Flaschberger, DU, 26:48.0; 7. Will Koch, CU, 26:51.2; 8. Oyvind Haugan, CU, 27:13.4; 9. Magnus Noroey, UAA, 27:14.5; 10. Emil Book Bratbak, UAA, 27:20.6.
WOMEN’S 5K CLASSIC (40 collegiate finishers)—1. Sydney Palmer-Leger, UU, 15:50.7; 2. Julia Richter, UU, 15:55.9; 3. Novie McCabe, UU, 16:12.0; 4. Astrid Stav, UAA, 16:21.9; 5. Molly Miller, NMU, 16:27.8; 6. Tuva Bygrave, UAA, 16:29.0; 7. Mariel Pulles, UAF, 16:31.8; 8. Anna Bizyukova, UVM, 16:40.2; 9. Hanna Ray, DU, 16:43.1; 10. Vera Norli, DU, 16:47.8. CU Finishers: 13. Weronika Kaleta, 17:09.7; 14. Ezra Smith, 17:15.9; t-20. Anna-Maria Dietze, 17:37.1.