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Skiers In Third After Day 1 At NCAA Championships

Discussion in 'University of Colorado News and Olympic Sports' started by cmgoods, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. cmgoods

    cmgoods Olympic Sports Mod Club Member

    Oct 15, 2011
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    Freshman Brooke Wales matched the best ever finish by a CU woman in their first NCAA event.

    Photo Courtesy: Brett Wilhelm, NCAA Photos
    Skiers In Third After Day 1 At NCAA Championships

    Release: 03/06/2013 Courtesy: David Plati, Associate AD/Sports Information

    HANCOCK, Vt. - The University of Colorado ski team survived its weakest event here Wednesday at the Middlebury Snow Bowl, as after the giant slalom races, the Buffaloes are in third place in the 60th Annual NCAA Skiing Championships.

    Defending champion Vermont owns the first day lead with 227 points, with Denver next with 210½. The Buffaloes scored 175½, followed by New Hampshire (165½) and Utah (164½) to round out the top five. The standings are a bit skewed, as one of Utah's alpine men suffered a nasty fall and had to take a DNF (did not finish), likely costing the Utes around 25 points. All six western schools are in the top eight through two events.

    "It wasn't exactly our goal, but we survived our worst event today with flying colors," CU head coach Richard Rokos said. "All we were asking was to finish in good standing, finish all six runs and that's what happened. We had very few mistakes overall, and this is a hill that is prone for you to make them."

    The women's giant slalom opened these championships, and the participants had to deal with gusting winds and some blowing snow, particularly in the first part of each run.

    All three CU performers were freshmen and despite the usual nerves before everyone's first NCAA race, all responded well and didn't appear to have the pressure get to them as all finished well above where they were seeded.

    Denver's Kristine Haugen won, claiming all six collegiate giant slaloms she raced in this winter, but CU's Brooke Wales grabbed second in 2:05.93, earning first-team All-America honors in the process. It was the fourth time this winter Wales finished right behind Haugen in a giant slalom race.

    Wales had assumed the lead, albeit briefly, after her second run, which was the second fastest of the 34 skiers (1:02.19), but Haugen had built up a substantial lead after the first run and held off Wales' charge in winning in a time of 2:04.60. Thea Grosvold climbed 16 spots from her starting position to finish 10th in 2:08.05, garnering second-team All-America honors, while Jessica Honkonen tied for 16th in a two-run clocking of 2:08.33.

    Wales was fifth, Honkonen 13th and Grosvold tied for 15th after their first runs, all improving on their seedings of eighth, 18th and 26th, respectively, from the get-go. Grosvold had the ninth fastest time the second time down the mountain, with Honkonen posting the 15th best second run.

    "I really wanted to up my game a little bit in the second run," Wales said. "I felt my first run was pretty solid, but I knew I could make a jump. I got really good course reports from my teammates, they really boosted my confidence. They told me to channel my inner Super G skier, so that always makes me happy I'm good on those kids of course sets."

    "Brooke was outstanding," Rokos said. "With her Super G and GS ability, it paid off today. I'm very thrilled to have her on the podium and I think her parents are pleased as well, they came all the way here from Seattle. It's great to have one podium out of this race."

    Wales' finish tied the best-ever by a CU woman in her first career NCAA race, matching Andreja Rojs' runner-up finish in the giant slalom at Park City back in 1991, Rokos' first season; perhaps that is a good omen for the Buffaloes, as Colorado claimed the NCAA title that winter.

    1st Kristen Petty, 1985 (Soph., Nordic)
    1st Per Kare Jakobsen, 1988 (Soph., Nordic)
    1st Ian Witter, 1989 (Fr., Alpine, giant slalom)
    1st Toni Standteiner, 1991 (Fr., Alpine, giant slalom)
    1st Sean Ramsden, 1993 (Soph, Alpine, giant slalom)
    1st Line Selnes, 1998 (Sr., Nordic, classical)
    1st Katka Hanusova, 2000 (Fr., Nordic, freestyle)
    1st Adam Zika, 2012 (Fr., Alpine, giant slalom)
    2nd Chris Pedersen, 1990 (Fr., Alpine, giant slalom)
    2nd Andreja Rojs, 1991 (Fr., Alpine, giant slalom)
    2nd Caroline Gedde-Dahl, 1996 (Soph., Alpine, giant slalom)
    2nd Mari Storeng, 2001 (Jr., Nordic, classical)
    2nd Maria Grevsgaard, 2006 (Fr., Nordic, classical)
    2nd Sara Hjertman, 2011 (Sr., Alpine, giant slalom)
    2nd Brooke Wales, 2013 (Fr., Alpine, giant slalom)

    "I think somebody always has to come from behind," Grosvold said of her jump into the top 10. "I didn't feel like starting 26th was that big of a disadvantage. It was a little rougher on the first run than the second, but the field is so small that it doesn't really matter. But today was good, knowing what we can do in GS, we have really good slalom skiers to, so this gives us a lot of confidence for those races."

    "Thea had a great result; she skied clean and had an efficient run," Rokos said. "She tied the Utah girl (Ana Kobal, 22nd to sixth) for the biggest mover of the day ... gaining 16 spots in the GS is not easy. Jessica was little unlucky on her second run. She dumped some speed at some point, maybe on the flats, I don't think she made any mistakes, but somewhere she opened up a little more or something."

    "This hill has lots of terrain and a lot of flat sections," he continued. "On the steep parts, that hill has far more charisma than anything else. Every single turn is different, there's no repetition. It's a sign of a good skier who can ski and ski fast here."

    In the men's GS, junior Andreas Haug and freshman Henrik Gunnarson led the Buffaloes, the pair tying for 12th in a 2:03.97 time. Vermont's Jonathan Nordbotten matched the fastest second run in the field, but did it in the 25th starting position, to win in a two-run clocking of 2:03.12. As with the women, Haug and Gunnarsson finished well ahead where they started, with was 23rd and 20th, respectively; in fact, Haug's second run time of 1:00.64 was just two one-hundredths off the fastest, while Gunnarsson clocked the afternoon's eighth best.

    "We just realized that we were sitting back and really needed to put one down to stay in the fight and keep CU in the hunt for the trophy," Haug said of his blistering second effort. "We were a little too careful in the first run, maybe a bit conservative, so Henrik and I decided that we just needed to go for it. Fortunately, we were rewarded for doing so."

    Unlike a year ago, when CU's Adam Zika won the giant slalom in just over two seconds (considered a rout in the sport, as it was the largest margin of victory in an NCAA GS in 31 years), this time around, barely nine-tenths of a second was the difference between winning and 14th, while two seconds separated the top 25 skiers.

    Freshman Kasper Hietanen rounded out the CU effort, finishing 20th in 2:04.60.

    "It was an extremely tight race on the guy's side, and starting with seventh, there were 12 guys within half a second of each other," Rokos said. "Our guys moved pretty strong from the back. They had a great second run, they finally got a good grip on the hill and it paid off. I wish they had a little more in the first run, but them moving as far through the field as they did is an accomplishment."

    The Nordic classical races are next up on the schedule, with the women's 5-kilometer race at 8:00 a.m. MST, and the men's 10k version at 10:00 a.m. Thursday. The slalom races are set for Friday, with the women's first run at 7:30 a.m., followed by the men's first run at 8:15 a.m.; the second runs will follow at 10:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., respectively. The freestyle races will finish off the NCAA meet on Saturday (women's 15-kilometer mass start at 8:00 a.m., men's 20k race following at 10:00 a.m.).

    "Sitting in third place, it gives us a good base to keep going and keeping contact with the leaders," Rokos said. "We'll go support the Nordies tomorrow and get some slalom training runs in as well to get ready for the next day."

    "We're feeling good about today," Haug added. "We got through it and our three best events are ahead of us."

    NCAA Championship Team Scores (2 of 8 events)- 1. Vermont 227; 2. Denver 210½; 3. Colorado 175½; 4. New Hampshire 165½; 5. Utah 164½; 6. New Mexico 144; 7. Montana State 103; 8. Alaska-Anchorage 86½; 9. Middlebury 83; 10. Dartmouth 76½; 11 (tie). Colby and St. Lawrence 43; 13. Williams 33; 14. Harvard 22; 15. Bates 20; 16. St. Michael's 11.

    Women's Giant Slalom (34 finishers)- 1. Kristine Haugen, DU, 2:04.60; 2. Brooke Wales, CU, 2:05.93; 3. Kristina Riis-Johannessen, UVM, 2:06.02; 4. Kristina Rove, Utah, 2:06.40; 5. Kate Ryley, UVM, 2:06.71; 6. Ana Kobal, Utah, 2:07.26; 7. Devin Delaney, DU, 2:07.51; 8. Geordie Lonza, Will., 2:07.68; 9. Mary Sackbauer, Midd., 2:08.03; 10. Thea Grosvold, CU, 2:08.05. Other CU Finisher: 16. Jessica Honkonen, 2:08.33.

    Men's Giant Slalom (33 finishers)-1. Jonathon Nordbotten, UVM, 2:03.12; 2. Jeremy Elliot, Utah, and Coley Oliver, UNH, 2:03.18; 4. Christopher Acosta, UNM, 1:50.57; 5. Sean Higgins, UVM, 2:03.57; 6. Taylor Vest-Burton, UNH, 2:03.60; 7. Trevor Philp, DU, 2:03.84; 8. Max Marno, DU, 2:03.89; 9. Espen Lysdahl, DU, and Andreas Adde, UAA, 2:03.90. CU Finishers: 12. Andreas Haug and Henrik Gunnarsson, 2:03.97; 20. Kasper Hietanen, 2:04.60.

    (Associate SID Curtis Snyder contributed to this report.)
    from cubuffs.com

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