Utah Wins NCAA Championship

Saturday, March 11, 2017 • by Brooke Fredrickson, RMSIA

JACKSON, N.H.—The Utah ski team won its 11th NCAA title on Saturday afternoon, its first title since 2003, with Colorado finishing second and Denver third. Utah’s Martin Bergstroem and Colorado’s Petra Hyncicova won the individual freestyle titles, both winning their second titles of the meet after also winning Thursday’s classic races.

The Utes came into the day in second, trailing leader Denver by 34.5 points with Colorado a close third. The Utes had a race-high 84 points in the men’s freestyle race, picking up five points on Denver (79 points) and increasing its lead over Colorado (71 points). Utah had all three skiers in the top 10 while Denver’s three skiers were in the top 11.

In the women’s freestyle race, Colorado came away with a race-high 77 points, mostly from 74 points from Hyncicova and third-place Christina Rolandsen, but Utah was just behind with 73 points from the trio of Merete Myrseth (fifth), Guro Jordheim (sixth) and Natalie Mueller (14th), the only school with all three skiers in the top 15. Denver struggled, scoring just 26 points after finishes of 11th, 27th and 29th, allowing the Utes to pull away for the win.

Utah had 541.5 points over Denver (525) and Colorado (524). Dartmouth finished fourth (400) with Vermont fifth (355) followed by Montana State (320) in sixth and New Mexico in seventh (188.5). Other RMISA school finishes were Alaska Anchorage in 11th, Alaska Fairbanks in 13th.

It was the closest margin between first and second since 1999 (Colorado 650, Denver 636). The 17.5 difference between the top three is the second-closest since the sport went coed in 1983 – in 1998, 16 points separated the top 3 (CU 654, UU 651.5, DU 638).

In the men’s race, it was Bergström’s second win of the season. Colorado’s Mads Stroem finished second with Denver’s Moritz Madlener third and the Buff’s Petter Reistad fourth. Reistad and Madlener were also both in the top five in the classic race. Denver’s Dag Trolleboe also earned his second All-America finish of the weekend with a sixth-place run. The Utes had all three skiers in the top 10, as Martin Mikkelsen finished eighth (his second top-10 finish of the weekend for two All-America honors) and Kevin Bolger was 10th to earn his first All-America honors of the championships. Lars Hannah was also key to Denver’s scoring in the race, finishing 11th.

In the women’s race, it was Hyncicova’s fifth overall win of the season. Beyond the Utes and Buffs, Montana State had two skiers in the top 10 with Anika Miller fourth and Johanna Talihaerm in seventh, the first All-America honors of the championships for both skiers. Alaska Fairbanks Sarissa Lammers earned her first career All-America honor with an eighth-place finish.

The Utes have 11 NCAA titles and 12 championships overall, including an AIAW title in 1978. Utah’s 11 NCAA titles ranks third all-time in skiing behind Denver’s 23 and Colorado’s 19. RMISA schools have won 56 of the 65 NCAA Championships held.

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