UAA qualifies full 12 skiers to NCAAs
The Seawolves collected five top-15 finishes in the final four races for a combined 647 total points. No.1-ranked Utah won the team title with 932 points, while NCAA defending champion, Colorado, was second with 862.5 points and New Mexico was third with 768 points. Host Montana State took fourth with 750 points, while Denver (716) rounded out the top five.
Leading the Seawolves with ninth-place finishes were senior All-American Jaime Bronga and freshman Vanessa Berther. Bronga, who missed yesterday’s freestyle race with an illness, returned for the 15K classical at Bohart Ranch with a time of one hour, three minutes and 55.6 seconds. A local of Anchorage, Bronga led UAA in all nine races that she competed in this season.
From Bellevue, Wash., Berther captured her fourth top-10 showing of her young collegiate career with a two-run time of 1:40.13 in the women’s slalom at Bridger Bowl. Berther’s highest placing of the season came two days earlier when she finished third at the RMISA Alpine Qualifier in the giant slalom.
Also posting a top-15 position was senior All-American Alex Parker in the downhill race. A local of Calgary, Alberta, Parker finished 11th with a time of 1:40.95. Freshman Niko Harmanen (1:57.33) and sophomore Christopher Kollenborg (1:57.40) also finished in the top 15, crossing at 12th and 13th, respectively, in the men’s slalom.
Furnishing the individual titles were Utah’s Anna Kocken (1:37.5) and UNM’s Christopher Acosta (1:55.41) in the women’s and men’s slalom, while Utah’s Maria Graefnings (1:01:17.5) and CU’s Rune Oedegaard (1:02.03.0) won the classical races after winning the freestyle races on Friday.
At the conclusion of the regular season the Seawolves qualified a full 12 skiers to the NCAA Championships for just the second time in the history of the program since changing to the current format – first was in 2009. Joining Berther and Parker in the women’s Alpine will be freshman Anais Urbain, while junior Andreas Adde and freshman Sean Alexander will join Harmanen in the men’s Alpine races.
On the Nordic side, Bronga will be joined by her senior counterparts in Laura Rombach and Steffi Hiemer, while sophomores Lukas Ebner and Lasse Molgaard-Nielsen and freshman Nevio Zeni will make up the men’s Nordic squad.
Utah and Colorado joined UAA in qualifying full 12-skier teams from the west; Montana State and New Mexico qualified 11 and Denver 10.
The qualified individuals will have the next weekend off to prepare for the 2012 NCAA Skiing Championships, which will be held at the same venues in Montana on March 7-10.