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DU's Smart Wins Third National Title, Utah Continues to Lead at NCAA Championships

Friday, March 12, 2021 • by Ron Knabenbauer, Special To RMISA

FRANCONIA, N.H.—The University of Denver's Amelia Smart won the individual national title in women's slalom on Friday as the alpine portion of the 2021 NCAA Championships wrapped up at Cannon Mountain Resort.

Overall, four RMISA skiers ended up on the podium on the third day of the national championships, with Julia Toiviainen of Westminster joining Smart on the stand in third place, and Colorado's Filip Forejtek and Denver's Simon Fournier finishing second and third, respectively, in the men race.

The University of Utah continues to lead the overall meet with 398 points, but second-place Colorado gained 121 team points in the two slalom competitions to close the gap on the Utes to 24.5 points. Led by Smart and Fournier, Denver was the biggest mover of the day by picking up 153 points and taking third place overall with 346 points, 52 behind the Utes. Montana State remains in the top five in fourth place (314.5), while Alaska Anchorage is in sixth (265) and Westminster in seventh (212).

Smart's victory was her third of the season and her third individual national championship. The senior swept the alpine events in her freshman campaign of 2018, winning both the giant slalom and slalom.

"I think this one was pretty special. It was pretty cool to finish out my college season with a win, especially since I did it my freshman year as well," Smart said. "I feel like freshman year I didn't expect it as much, but it was pretty special freshman year as well. That was pretty much the best thing I could possibly hope for (in 2018) and then we actually won championships as well as a team. It was pretty awesome. Today was awesome as well."

Smart finishes her collegiate career with 10 victories in slalom and 11 overall, the most among active RMISA alpine skiers. She has finished in the top five in four of her seven career races at nationals.

The Pioneer led the field comfortably after her first run (48.95), holding a 1.21-second lead on the next-place finisher, her DU teammate Reece Bell (50.16). Smart had the seventh-fastest second run (49.95) but still added to her lead and finished with total time of 1:38.9, 2.01 seconds faster than second-place Justine Clement of Vermont.

"Honestly, I didn't have any plans to ski conservatively even with the lead because anything can happen in slalom," Smart said of having a hefty advantage after her opening run. "In these types of conditions, really anything can happen. My plan was to ski as aggressively as I could and work with the terrain."

Denver won the women's team event with 88 points, with Bell contributing 29 of those points in fifth place. Colorado's Stef Fleckenstein finished in fourth place as the Buffaloes ended third in the women's scores.

Toiviainen's podium was the first of her career at the NCAA Championships and marked her second top five at the 2021 national meet after coming in fourth in the GS. She podiumed in eight of her 12 races in 2021.

All six RMISA schools were represented in the top 10 of the women's race as Rebecca Fiegl had her best finish at nationals in sixth for Alaska Anchorage, while freshman Kristiane Bekkestad was ninth for Montana State and Utah's Katie Vesterstein was 10th.

Filip Forejtek and Simon Fournier led the RMISA in the men's slalom as the conference held five of the top seven spots overall. Forejetek earned his second runner-up at nationals after coming in second in last year's giant slalom. He had the fastest first run at 43.38 and finished with a total of 1:29.15, just behind the winner Mathias Tefre of Vermont, who posted a combined time of 1:29.09.

"I took the opportunity, I raced fast (in the first run)," Forejtek said. "The second run I wanted to finish, but at the same time I wanted to push, I wanted to win, but I guess second place it is. It's still nice."

Fournier moved up from the eighth position following his first run to close the season strong with his first podium of the campaign. It was his second time on the stand in his career at the NCAA Championships after placing second in 2019 giant slalom.

Montana State won the team event with 69 points, beating out the 65 that Denver garnered. Louis Muhlen-Schulte led the Bobcats in fourth place and Age Solheim came in seventh. Utah's Joachim Lein placed fourth to earn his second top five at his year's championship.

The 2021 NCAA Championships conclude on Saturday with the women's 15K and men's 20K Nordic freestyle events at Jackson Nordic Ski Area.

2021 NCAA National Championships Team Standings (through 6 of 8 events): 1. Utah (398), 2. Colorado (373.5), 3. Denver (346), 4. Montana State (314.5), 5. Vermont (299). 6. Alaska Anchorage (265), 7. Westminster (212), 8. New Hampshire (174), 9. Plymouth State (134), 10. Boston College (121), 11. Northern Michigan (100), 12. St. Lawrence (93), 13. Alaska Fairbanks (75), 14. Michigan Tech (39), 15. St. Scholastica (25), 16. Colby (21), 17. Clarkson (0)

Men's Slalom Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Mathias Tefre, UVM, 1:29.09; 2. Filip Forejtek, CU, 1:29.15; 3. Simon Fournier, DU, 1:29.90; 4. Joachim Lein, UU, 1:29.99; 5. Louis Muhlen-Schulte, MSU, 1:30.07; 6. Tommy Kenosh, SLU, 1:30.36; 7. Age Solheim, MSU, 1:30.57; 8. Will Bruneau-Bouchard, UNH, 1:30.61; 9. Hunter Watson, PSU, 1:30.69; 10. David Frisk, UVM, 1:31.01;

RMISA Men's Skiers DNF: Francesco Gori, WMC, 1st; Joey Young, CU, DNS 2nd; Wilhelm Normannseth, UU, DNS 2nd; Gustav Vollo, UU, DQ 2nd

Men's Slalom Team Results: 1. Montana State (69), 2. Denver (65), 3. Vermont (63), 4. Colorado (57), 5. Plymouth State (48), 6. New Hampshire (44), 7. St. Lawrence (43), 8. Boston College (33), 9. Utah (31), 10. Westminster (24), 11. Alaska Anchorage (21)

Men's Individual Notes: Colorado's Filip Forejtek (2nd) picked up his second career podium at the NCAA Championships after coming in second in last year's GS event ... He has three straight top 10 finishes at nationals ... His second-place result was his seventh podium of the season and his fifth straight top five in slalom ... Forejtek had the fastest first run at 43.38, which was 79-hundreths of a second faster than the next-highest finisher on the opening course (Vermont's Matthias Tefre, 44.17) ... Denver's Simon Fournier (3rd) picked up his second career podium at the NCAA Championships after placing second in the GS as a freshman in 2019 ... Overall he has three top five placements at the NCAAs ... Fournier picked up his first podium of the year and the eighth of his career, earning his best finish since coming in third in the slalom at the 2020 RMISA Championships ... Utah's Joachim Lein (4th) recorded his second top five at this year's national championships and his third straight in a race at the NCAAs ... Montana State's Louis Muhlen-Schulte (5th) set a new career best at the national championships in five career races ... He has finished in the top 10 in four straight races at nationals and in 10 of 12 total races in 2021. MSU's Age Solheim (7th) recorded his fourth straight top 10 in an NCAA Championship races and finished the season with 10 top 10s in 12 races ... Westminster's Mikkel Solbakken (14th) led his school in scoring and picked up his third career top 15 at the national championships ... Alaska Anchorage senior Mike Soetaert (17th) led the Seawolves with his best-ever finish at the national championships.

Women's Slalom Top 10 Individual Results: 1. Amelia Smart, DU, 1:38.90; 2. Justine Clement, UVM, 1:40.91; 3. Julia Toiviainen, WMC, 1:41.16; 4. Stef Fleckenstein, CU, 1:41.40; 5. Reece Bell, DU, 1:41.65; 6. Rebecca Fiegl, UAA, 1:41.87; 7. Josefine Selvaag, UVM, 1:42.01; 8. Francesca English, UVM, 1:42.08; 9. Kristiane Bekkestad, MSU, 1:42.10; 10. Katie Vesterstein, UU, 1:42.59;

RMISA Women's Skiers DNF: Lana Zbasnik, WMC, 2nd

Women's Slalom Team Results: 1. Denver (88), 2. Vermont (85), 3. Colorado (64), 4. Westminster (51), 5. Utah (48), 6. Alaska Anchorage (44), T7. Boston College (34), T7 New Hampshire (34), 9. Montana State (32) 10. St. Lawrence (10), 11. Plymouth State (9)

Women's Individual Notes: Denver senior Amelia Smart (1st) won her third individual NCAA national championship and her second in slalom after winning the event and the GS as a freshman in 2019 ... Smart now has four top-five finishes and five top-10 results in seven career races at nationals ... The victory was Smart's third of the season after winning both slalom competitions at the RMISA Invitational at Westminster on Feb. 8 ... Her win marked the 10th of her career in slalom and the 11th as a collegian, the most among all active RMISA alpine skiers ... Smart had the fastest first run (48.95), finishing more than a second ahead (1.21) of teammate Reece Bell (50.16), who came in second ... Westminster's Julia Toiviainen (3rd) recorded her first career podium at NCAAs and her second top five at the 2021 championships after coming in fourth in the giant slalom on Wednesday ... Toiviainen finishes the season with eight podiums and four wins in 12 races, ending in the top 10 in each of them ... Colorado's Stef Fleckenstein (4th) earned her second top five at this year national championships after placing second in the GS ... She now has three top-10 finishes in five career races at the NCAA Championship, setting a new best in slalom after coming in eighth in 2019 ... Fleckenstein has ended in the top five in six straight races that she's finished and has been in the top 10 in seven of her eight this season ... DU's Reece Bell (5th) participated in her second career race at the national championships and recorded a new career best at NCAAs after coming in 15th in the GS on Wednesday ... She has four top-five results this year-all in slalom-with four coming in 2021 ... Alaska Anchorage senior Rebecca Fiegl (6th) participated in her seventh career race at the NCAA Championships and recorded a new personal best at the event after finishing eighth in slalom as a freshman in 2018 ... Fiegl was in the top 10 in five of six slalom events this season ... Montana State freshman Kristiane Bekkestad (9th) set a new best finish at nationals after coming in 16th in the GS on Wednesday .... She has six top 10s in 10 races this year, including four straight in slalom events she was able to complete ... Utah's Katie Vesterstein (10th) finished her first race at her first national championships ... It was her fourth top 10 of the season, all of which were in slalom.

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