Jeremy Elliot, injured prior to the start of the 2012 ski season, was a little on edge before his first giant slalom run Monday during the RMISA Alpine Qualifier in Eldora, Colo.
Elliot, a member of the University of Utah ski team, regained his form during the second run and finished second in the alpine team's season opener.
"Today was my first college race back since injuring my knee and getting surgery last November, so I'm really happy to have finished on the podium," Elliot said afterward. "The first run wasn't my best skiing and I was sitting in 15th place, so I knew I had to do something special on the second run."
In 2011, the Park City native won the NCAA West Region giant slalom and eventually finished 11th during the NCAA Championships. Elliot's return also bolsters a team that was the runner-up in the 2012 NCAA Championship.
"A lot of work has gone into preparing for these first races, and all of our coaches and staff have done an incredible job doing all they can for us to succeed," said Eliot, who is scheduled to compete with Utah on Friday at Winter Park, Colo. "I'm also really happy for my teammate Andy Trow. â¦ It's going to be a good year."
Like Elliot, Trow, competing in his first college event, rebounded from a disappointing first run to place fourth in his first-ever college race. The freshman from Canmore, Alberta, was in 14th place after the first run of the day, but recorded the fifth-fastest time of the day in the second run.
"It was an exciting first day of racing in Eldora," Utah alpine coach Jaka Korencan said. "Despite a few tactical mistakes, which resulted in crashes, our athletes had proven with great skiing that we will be extremely competitive this year. I am just so excited for Jeremy and Andy to perform well in the second run and finished close to the top. They deserve it."
UVU softball moves to WCC
Utah Valley drove the final nail into the Pacific Coast Softball Conference coffin when it accepted an invitation to join the West Coast Conference beginning in 2013-14.
The league, which had been home to programs from the WCC and Big Sky Conference, will cease operation at the end of the current season. The PCSC was home to five schools from the WCC and five from the BSC, including Weber State. Both conferences now have enough members to create their own NCAA sanctioned leagues.
"Being in the WCC will allow our athletes to compete against some of the top programs in the country and also be able to play close to home since a lot of our recruiting is based out of California," interim head coach Rachel Hartgrove said. "The schools we will be playing then are the same ones we are currently playing in the PCSC, and with the addition of Pacific, it will definitely be a tough conference."