Utes claim their 12th NCAA skiing championship in dominating fashion
File photo courtesy of Utah Athletics | Utah's Roni Remme's second place finish in the women's slalom Saturday helped the Utes secure the combined men's and women's national title, the program's 12th NCAA championship.
Utah claimed the school's second NCAA skiing championship in three years and third of this century, after taking a commanding lead into Saturday's final events at Stowe, Vt.
Roni Remme’s second-place finish in the women’s slalom helped the Utes secure the combined men’s and women’s title, the program’s 12th NCAA championship and 13th overall, counting an AIAW title.
Utah finished with 530.5 points, followed by Vermont (476), Colorado (455), Dartmouth (447) and defending champion Denver (409). With a partial roster competing in the NCAA meet, Westminster College placed 14th among 24 teams.
The victory capped what Utah director of skiing Fredrik Landstedt described as an “incredible four days of racing.”
Landstedt continued, "The team really came together and everyone fought all out for every point. I was very impressed with the Alpine skiing [Saturday] and how they all dealt with the pressure. It is very hard to come into the championship as the favorite and then deliver.”
The Utes had led second-place Colorado by 65.5 points going into Saturday’s Nordic and Alpine races. Utah was first after the opening day and second after the second day, then the Nordic team put together an outstanding performance Friday. "It does not happen very often that everyone has an awesome race on the same day so [Friday] was just incredible,” Landstedt said.
Utah's title came in Landstedt's first season on the job. He had won the 2004 title as New Mexico's head coach and was Colorado's Nordic coach in 1995 when the Buffaloes won the championship. Nordic coach Myles Havlick and Alpine coach JJ Johnson also completed their first seasons on the Utah staff.
“I am so proud of the athletes and coaches and super happy to get my coaching career at Utah started with a national championship," Landstedt said.
The Utes' Nordic team led the way, posting 316 points to finish first in that category. Julia Richter, a freshman from Germany, won one race and finished second in another. Utah's Alpine skiers added 214.5 points, ranking fourth. Yet as Landstedt said, that group certainly did its part, and Johnson summarized it as “a perfect day.”
Johnson added, "Obviously, we had a big lead going into the day and we made a plan to ski very aggressive, but in a smart way in conservative lines. Everyone executed that to a T.”
Utah's national title is the 517th for the Pac-12 and comes during a school year when the conference has claimed championships in cross country (Colorado), volleyball (Stanford) and water polo (USC).
The Utes’ other NCAA skiing championships came in 1981, ’83, ’84, ’86, ’87, ’88, ’93, ’96, ’97, 2003 and 2017.