STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — For the first time in 60 years, Dartmouth boasts three individual titles at the NCAA Skiing Championships.
Sophomore Tanguy Nef became the third Dartmouth skier in as many days to win a race at the championships, besting the field in the men’s slalom on Friday night at Howelsen Hill. He beat out his closest challenger by more than three-quarters of a second thanks to a scintillating second run, earning a spot on the All-America First Team as he did on Wednesday in the giant slalom by finishing second.
Junior Alexa Dlouhy secured a 10th-place finish to lead the Big Green in the women’s slalom as Dartmouth added 113 points to its total, which stands at 330.5, jumping ahead of Utah (290.5) into third place with one day remaining in the four-day event. Denver took over the lead from host Colorado by scoring the most points in both races tonight, leaving the Pioneers a 26-point lead, 437-411.
Nef had no problem skiing under the lights as he put himself in good position on his first run by posting the third-fastest time (38.56 seconds), barely a tenth of a second behind the leader, Sandy Vietze of Vermont. Dartmouth’s giant slalom champion from two days prior, senior Brian McLaughlin, was in 12th place after the first run in 39.88 seconds, and fellow senior Thomas Woolson 18th in 40.26 seconds.
The top of the course seemed to give the skiers the most trouble as numerous competitors struggled to navigate the first few poles. But Woolson held his own on his second attempt, recording what would be the seventh-best time at 42.42 seconds. McLaughlin fell back with his time of 43.23 seconds, but Nef confidently hit the course and did not let up, zipping down the mountain with the fastest time, 41.93 seconds, to take the lead by nearly a full second at 1:20.49 and put the pressure on the final two skiers.
New Mexico’s Vegard Busengdal could not keep up with Nef and dropped to fifth overall, and Vietze’s respectable time of 42.81 seconds wasn’t nearly enough to beat out Nef, though he did finish as the runner-up in 1:21.46. Woolson placed 12th with his combined time of 1:22.68, and McLaughlin 16th in 1:23.11.
Denver took the third podium spot, and its other two skiers ended up in the top 10 to amass 79 points, just five ahead of the Big Green, and Colorado was lumped near the top with 69 points.
The first run of the women’s slalom began the evening with Dlouhy third out of the chute and produced a time of 39.53 seconds, which left her in 11th place. Senior Foreste Peterson fared a little better in 39.40 seconds to sit in ninth, and sophomore Stephanie Currie was just a hair of 40 seconds (40.01) to begin the second run in 16th.
Both Currie and Dlouhy had very similar times on their second runs allowing the former to climb three spots in the standings to 13th with a combined time of 1:22.51, while the latter took a single step up into 10th (1:22.09) to earn a place on the All-America Second Team for the third straight year in the event. Unfortunately, Dlouhy was able to move up because Peterson faltered on the course and did not finish, knocking her out of the standings.
Denver’s Amelia Smart doubled down on her giant slalom title from Wednesday, winning the slalom in 1:19.21, staving off the Vermont duo of Paula Moltzan in second (1:19.75) and Francesca English in third (1:20.41). The Pioneers beat out Vermont with their two other skiers in the top 11 to record 91 points to the Catamounts’ 78. Dartmouth placed seventh in the event with 39.
The final day of the championships will feature the men’s and women’s freestyle races. The men’s 20K mass start begins at 9 a.m. local time (11 a.m. EST) with the with the women’s 15K mass start getting under way at 11 a.m. (1 p.m. EST).
Notes: Nef becomes the first Dartmouth slalom champion since Karl Johnson in 2006 … the last time the Big Green won three events at the NCAA Championships was in 1958 — Robert Gebhardt (slalom), Dave Harwood (skimeister) and Dave Vorse (alpine) … this is the fourth time Dartmouth has won at least three individual titles, winning three in 1955 and four in 1957 … Nef is the first Big Green skier to earn All-America honors in both the slalom and giant slalom since Trevor Leafe in 2011, and first to make the first team in both since Ace Tarberry in 2010.