BOZEMAN, Mont. — On a beautifully clear day at the Bohart Ranch, Dartmouth got All-America performances from five skiers on the first day of competition at the NCAA Skiing Championships as each of the quintet finished among the top 10 in the women’s 5K Freestyle and the men’s 10K Freestyle. The strong showing propelled the Big Green to the top of the leaderboard in the team standings with 214 points, with Vermont in second place with 183 points and Utah right behind in third with 179.
The day began with the women’s 5K race. Senior Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) led the Dartmouth pack in third place with a time of 14:31.0, earning a spot on the All-America First Team. Fellow senior Erika Flowers (Bozeman, Mont.), competing in her hometown, posted a time of 14:50.9 to take seventh place, while sophomore Annie Hart (Stillwater, Minn.) wasn’t far behind in ninth in 15:08.1. Those finishes garnered second-team All-America honors for both skiers.
The individual champion in the women’s 5K was Utah’s Maria Graefnings in 14:05.9, nearly 30 seconds ahead of Vermont’s Caitlin Patterson.
In the men’s 10K, junior Sam Tarling (Cumberland, Maine) — last year’s national champion — earned a place on the podium for a second straight year by taking third in 25:53.6 to claim his spot on the All-America First Team. Senior Eric Packer (Anchorage, Alaska) crossed the finish line in eight place with a time of 26:09.9 to receive second-team All-America honors. The final skier for the Big Green was senior Gordon Vermeer (Minneapolis, Minn.), who briefly had the lead mid-way through the staggered-start race but eventually settled for 13th place in 26:26.6.
As in the women’s race, the men’s individual champion, Northern Michigan’s Erik Soderman, put plenty of distance between himself and the rest of the field, winning the 10K with a time of 25:20.2, a full 25 seconds ahead of Utah’s Miles Havlick.
Tomorrow brings the first alpine event of the NCAA Championships with the giant slalom at the Bridger Bowl, beginning with the women’s first run at 11:30 a.m. (EST). Fans can watch the proceedings live on the internet at NCAA.com.