Panther ski team vies at NCAAs
BOULDER, Colo. — The Middlebury College ski team finished 11th among 21 teams competing at the 2016 NCAA skiing championships hosted by the University of Colorado between March 9 and 12.
The Panthers compiled 133 points, while Denver captured its 23rd title with 567 points. Colorado (491), Utah (485) and Montana State (406) rounded out the top teams, with Vermont (310) leading all Eastern squads in seventh.
The giant slalom was contested on March 9 at Steamboat Ski Resort. Panther defending champion Rob Cone fell on his first run; he was one of the seven in a field of 34 who failed to finish. The top Panther to complete his race was Riley Plant, who finished in 14th with a two-run time of 1:52.70.
Trailing him by 0.17 seconds was teammate Colin Hayes, whose combined time of 1:52.87 was good for 15th. Endre Bjertness, of the University of Utah, won the individual title with a two-run time of 1:50.85.
Panthers Caroline Bartlett and Lexi Calcagni competed in the women’s GS among 34 skiers. Bartlett took 19th with a two-run time of 2:03.54, while Calcagni placed 28th in 2:05.37. Kristine Gjelsten Haugen of Denver claimed the individual national title in 1:58.00.
In Friday’s slalom, five Middlebury athletes competed. The men’s alpine squad was led by Hayes, who finished 18th in 1:26.42. Plant and Cone struggled with the course, placing 28th (1:28.91) and 30th (1:31.98), respectively. Erik Read of Denver won the event with a two-run total of 1:24.66.
On the women’s side, Bartlett and Calcagni represented the Panthers. Bartlett finished 26th in 1:40.50, and Calcagni finished 31st in 1:52.90. Julie Flo Mohagen of Utah was the winner with a time of 1:29.63.
The Nordic competitors saw their first day of competition on Thursday on Howelsen Hill with the women’s 5-kilometer and the men’s 10K freestyle races.
Annie Pokorny and Kelsey Phinney competed for the Panther women in the 5K race, with Anika Miller of Montana State taking home the title in a time of 13:06. Pokorny finished the high-altitude event in 12th, second among Eastern skiers, covering the course in 13:24. Phinney was fourth among Eastern racers and 20th overall in 13:45.
On the men’s side, Mads Stroem of Colorado took home the crown in the 10K event in 22:06. Western men took the top-nine spots in the race. Panther Patrick McElravey placed 28th in 24:05, eighth among Eastern racers.
Nordic action completed the championships on Saturday with the women’s 15K and men’s 20K classical events, with the final day’s races taking place at Howelsen Hill.
In the women’s 15K classic, the top eight skiers came from the West, and Linn Eriksen of Denver took home the title in 54:37. Annie Pokorny was the top Panther to finish the race, crossing the finish line in 56:38, good for 19th place. Phinney, who covered the course in 56:57, placed 21st.
Colorado’s Stroem won the men’s 20K classic event in 49:41. McElravey represented Middlebury and finished in 23rd place in 53:03.
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