Although he said everything is calm and quiet at the starting point, slalom racer Espen Lysdahl from Denver University said he could hear his teammates at the bottom of the hill cheering.
As he got closer, the noise naturally got louder. And, by the end of the day, hoorahs for the Denver Pioneers reverberated around the east side of the Wasatch range.
1. Denver 292; 2. New Mexico 252; 3. Colorado 216.5; 4. Vermont 201.5; 5. Utah 189
1. Vermont 286; 2. Denver 264; 3. New Mexico 206.5; 4. Utah 203; 5. Colorado 186
1. Denver 556; 2. Vermont 487.5; 3. New Mexico 458.5; 4. Colorado 402.5; 5. Utah 392
Women’s 15K Freestyle
1. Eva Severrus, New Mexico 40:15.10; 2. Rosie Frankowski, Northern Michigan 40:16.90; 3. Sylvia Nordskar, Denver 40:32.90; 4. Linda Danvind-Malm, Vermont 40:40.70; 5. Anja Gruber, Vermont 41:05.40
Men’s 20K Freestyle
1. Mads Stroem, Colorado 43:49.00; 2. Max Olex, Alaska Fairbanks 43:56.30; 3. Mats Resaland, New Mexico 44:00.30; 4. Pierre Guedon, Denver 44:01.20; 5. Patrick Caldwell, Dartmouth 44:01.30
1. Kristina Riis-Johannessen, Vermont 1:37.89; 2. Kate Ryley, Vermont 1:38.24; 3. Elise-Woien Tefre, Vermont 1:39.93; 4. Jessica Honkonen, Colorado 1:40.32; 5. Kristine Haugen, Denver 1:40.66
1. Espen Lysdahl, Denver 1:53.34; 2. Trevor Philp, Denver 1:54.11; 3. Jonathan Nordbotten, Vermont 1:54.89; 4. Niko Harmanen, Alaska Anchorage 1:55.35; 5. Sean Horner, New Mexico 1:56.15
The Pioneers wrapped up the overall team title as the NCAA skiing championships culminated on Saturday at Park City.
Lysdal had a big part of the team point title as he won the slalom, with Denver University’s Trevor Philp coming in second.
"When you’ve got about 15 more gates to go, that’s when it [the crowd noise] is really kicking in," said Lysdal, who was the last with a realistic chance of winning to ski. "Even though it’s not that many people, they’re loud. It’s a good crowd."
The final day of the championships, hosted by the University of Utah, was originally scheduled to have two Nordic races. But the slalom races were also moved to Saturday after coaches decided that conditions on the course Friday were not favorable.
At Soldier Hollow in Midway, Colorado University’s Mads Stroem grabbed an individual crown in the men’s freestyle 20K by beating Alaska Fairbanks’ Max Olex by seven seconds.
The women’s 15K freestyle was much closer as University of New Mexico’s Eva Severrus overtook Northern Michigan’s Rosie Frankowski in the last two kilometers to claim the win.
"It was an awesome race. It was very tough," said Severrus, a freshman with the Lobos. "I like this course. I made a move — it was a long sprint and it was close."
With Severrus’ victory, New Mexico temporarily moved into second in the team standings.
But Vermont University then swept the top three positions in the women’s slalom to grab the runner-up team trophy. Following Denver, Vermont and UNM in the team standings were Colorado in fourth and host Utah in fifth overall.
In the women’s slalom, Vermont’s Kristina Riis-Johannessen capped a long streak of near-misses by crossing the line with the best time. Teammates Kate Ryley and Elise-Woien Tefre completed the Catamount sweep.
"I knew if we all skiied well, we could actually go one-two-three," said Riis-Johannessen, who finished third in the 2013 giant slalom and second in the slalom. She also was runner-up in the slalom at the 2012 NCAA championships.
"I finally got my title. I tore a ligament in my thumb (in the giant slalom on Wednesday) so I was kind of worried, but I had so much adrenaline going and I didn’t want this to stop me," Riis-Johannessen.
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